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The Canning Project

Alleviating Hunger through Food Preservation


Though famine has affected many parts of the world, in the twentieth century, the conditions that produce famine, extreme poverty, armed conflict, economic and political turmoil, and climate shocks – are now most prevalent in Africa (Braun, Teklu and Webb, 1999, p.1) Hunger has become such a severe problem in Africa that it can no longer be evaded. (Sigwele, IFPRI, 2001) Researchers differ on how to address this problem effectively, but their argument are often not informed by empirical analysis from a famine context.

The catastrophic disruption of the social, economic and institutional systems that provide for food production, distribution and consumption (Braun, Teklu and Webb, 1999, p.1) For a long time famines were once considered anomalies- crises that must be remedied by short-term relief activities so that the normal processes of development can be resumed … We now know differently. Famines can destroy not just life but also the hope of development. They can make progress infinitely more difficult than it had been before. Relief operations alone, even if successful in terms of saving lives, are not a sound basis for a sustainable future. (Braun, Teklu and Webb, 1999, p.1) Our approach to effective engagement of the challenge of famine in the Nakuru provin’ce includes not only aid but also effective training of the entire community in food preservation.

Poverty and hunger are inextricably linked. Twenty five thousand people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes. (United Nations Data and Trends, 2002) Thousands of Nakuru citizens are under plague of hunger and on the verge of death. Yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. The problem is that hungry people are ensnared in abject poverty. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker and often sick. This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes them even poorer and hungrier.

There are effective programs to break this vicious spiral. For adults, there are “food for work” programs where the adults are compensated with food to build schools, dig wells, and build roads. For children, there are “food for education” programs where the children are provided with food when they attend school. Their education will help them to escape from hunger and global poverty

The major factor is famine. When the rain comes and there is meager food production, the people cannot preserve what is not immediately consumed. They have no refrigerators and effective food preservation mechanisms. One way to alleviate hunger is training in food preservation. Food preservation is vital to the alleviation of hunger in Africa. When the rain comes in a particular season and the food is harvested; if the villagers are able to store away the crops through refrigeration, they can have food to store away for next season.

Preservation considerably increases the storage life of collected foods and enables them to play a vital seasonal nutritional role in the life of the individuals. However, often this is not the case. Food by its nature begins to spoil the moment it is harvested. Food preservation will promote the survivability of the people, and produce a positive multiplier effect to impact the vicious circle of the plague of hunger in Kenya. This is the gist of our program, and we need your investment in the future of people of Kenya.