While Kenya is in complete chaos with millions facing starvation and many Kenyans perishing together with their livestock in terrible conditions it was uplifting to see a food processing factory being opened in Kenya in the name of Kigoto Milling Plant which produces Unga from maize produced by Kenyans.
Often farmers produce maize and sell it to the National Cereals Board to make Unga and it is a complete nightmare for everybody which ends up with Kenyans not having any Unga and it happens every year.
So for Kenyans to actually take their maize products to a local factory in their area that adds value to their produce and provide the country with real Unga is taking Kenya where we have to go to address food production and economic development in the country.
We have to produce our local food and process it for large-scale consumption. That is how every economy works. There are no tricks to economic development. It is hard work and smart investments. Our biggest problem in Kenya as far as food supply goes is that we produce food and we cannot process it whether it is maize, fruits, vegetables, bananas, arrow roots (nduma), and fish from the Coast and Lake Victoria among others.
We are always dying as a country to produce food and find some country to throw it at for cheap so they can process that into very expensive products. That includes coffee and tea which we produce and get nothing from because the industry is owned by the British from 1896 to now. How much longer we don’t know.
About Mokwa Maize products I ask them to do the country one big favour. Please send a load of these products to our fellow citizens in so many parts of the country dying from lack of food. It won’t be enough but do something. Please.
I know the situation in Kenya is totally confused. Somehow Kenya is sending food aid to Somalia to feed people there while the same Kenya has no food for its own citizens.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who has his mouth open 24 hours each day to say things even he doesn’t understand has been asking Kenyan citizens to donate food to go feed those dying from starvation in Kenya. Does he even know where that food can be delivered by Kenyans? He doesn’t because his job is to talk every day and do nothing. Excellent job for him.
About Homabay and this big development to convince Kenyans we can produce and process our own food, I learnt something strange about Homabay town today. I have been there once in 1987 but I know more about Rusinga Island and Mbita which I visit from Lwanda Kotieno beach with their magnificent ferry transport.
But I leant that Homabay town has the same problem I have with my land in Bondo. They have black soil which makes construction very expensive because it is very hard to build the foundation for the building. That black soil has no end you can dig the foundation until you go crazy.
But there is one good thing about black soil. It is very good for farming. It can contain and preserve rainwater for a very long time. Why is this good news? It means the Homabay folks can grow and harvest a lot of maize and now that you have a processing plant to produce Unga from there, go for it big time. And if you need more maize products for the factory work with neighbouring counties like Kisii, Kisumu, and Siaya.
And just last year Kisii county established its own banana processing plant. These are the things Kenya needs to build on instead of wishful thinking and political nonsense.
These historic investments and initiatives have to be supported and helped to grow into national institutions of our country. That will not happen by accident. If we have a government that can put emphasis on these real development initiatives instead of yap, yap, yap, and pray, pray, pray Kenya may have a chance.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada