A new report by the World Bank reveals that at least 17.4m Kenyans are living below the poverty line and cannot afford basic commodities essential for life such as food.
The proportion represents 36 per cent of the total population but is a decline from 21.19m reported in 2005 when the last survey was done.
The stated population is living below Sh92.4 per day which is way Sh191.33 which is the set international poverty line.
8.8m Kenyans can afford to spend Sh267.5 a day and are classified above the upper middle class poverty line.
18.4 Kenyans on the other hand spend an average of Sh155.7 a day and are classified as the lower middle class level.
In neighboring Tanzania, 20.7m people live below Sh54.98 a day while 17.3m Ugandans live below Sh65.14 and thus cannot buy healthy nutritious foods.
Kenyans queing to receive relief food from the Kenya Red Cross in Northern Kenya. nation.co.ke
The Central Bank of Kenya in May revealed that Kenya’s reliance on foreign markets to feed her population estimated at 46m people has risen by four and half times as the country imported food worth Sh15.09bn from January to April 2018.
The rise is attributed to over reliance on rain fed agriculture at the expense of irrigation technologies that can ensure production of crops all year round.
According to the ministry of agriculture, Kenya has 5.5m hectares of arable land, but only 17 per cent is suitable for rain fed agriculture with productive crop areas shrinking.
In this, only three per cent of arable land is irrigated with majority of farmers growing maize, pulses, fruits, tea, roots and tubers.
The ministry however, reports that if drip irrigation was applied, Kenyan farmers could increase their crop yields by up to five times.