Lokis Area Development Programme in Baringo County, Kenya is one of the areas that has been adversely affected by the hunger crisis.
We visited Arupe, eight and Achore, 11, whose family lives in Lokis area in Baringo County. They depend on milk from their goats for consumption. However, the drought has severely affected their family's ability to secure pasture and food for the goats in addition to meeting their own food needs. If the boys are not able to get any milk from their goats in the morning, Arupe, eight and his brother Achore, 11, turn to harvesting wild fruits called loma to fill their stomachs. The fruit, which takes a 12-hour cooking preparation, before they are edible is one of the few alternatives these boys and many others in Kenya have, as the effects of drought have ravished crops.
Arupe's family is among families in Kenya whose survival remains compromised, by the effects of the hunger crisis. In addition to not having nothing to eat, children like Arupe and Achore are missing our of school, travel long distances in search of food and water and are exposed to a myriad of disease from having lowered immunity as a result of poor feeding habits. Immediate action and aid is needed to respond to 2.7 million people, including 700,000 children under five years, who are facing starvation and possible famine due to lack of food and water in Kenya.
World Vision Kenya Associate Director of Livelihood and Resilience (L&R) Mr. Lawrence Kiguro confirms that “loma” (Balanites pedicellaris) is one of the wild foods eaten in the Arid and Semi Arid Areas (ASALs) areas as a hunger crop. The fruit requires longer and more time in times of preparation to make it suitable for eating.
Mr Kiguro says, "I tried to engage with the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and International Centre for Research in Agroforestry in Kenya (ICRAF) to do proper research on wild fruits so that they are "domesticated" but this became a challenge due to funding. The process is yet to be addressed in order to take the matter up for further research on wild fruits."