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Review of biosecurity in Kenya in the context of food security

Ngethe, Erick (2013) Review of biosecurity in Kenya in the context of food security. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Agriculture is undergoing tremendous challenges and shifts in focus. In the past, agricultural production in developing countries was aimed at providing food for local consumption through subsistence farming. Today, agricultural practices are transforming to meet the global food demand, while generating foreign currency to support these economies. To maximize production, agricultural practices in these countries have intensified to match increasing demand. In addition, agriculture is expected to create employment opportunities, improve livelihood and feed a growing population. Kenya is among such countries. It has embarked on broad-based agricultural development strategies to propel economic growth, improve its citizen's livelihood and ensure food security to its population.

Unfortunately, such agricultural intensification and development strategies are likely to be impacted by increased biosecurity threats of pests and diseases. This is because Kenyan biosecurity agencies and institutions are not adequately prepared to deal with increased biosecurity threats. This paper argues that such biosecurity threats adversely affect food production and consequently impact on food security of Kenya.

A review of the biosecurity system of Kenya in the context of its importance to food security was undertaken determine its capacity to protect agricultural resources against biosecurity threats. The study reviewed Kenyan biosecurity from a broader context; by including information on scope of biosecurity, how biosecurity works, and how biosecurity relates to food security challenges, in comparison to the biosecurity system in Australia. To achieve this, the study broadly reviewed the entire biosecurity system of Kenya, without focussing on any particular agricultural industry. The study reviewed data and information from relevant journals, books, published reports, government biosecurity agencies' websites and relevant national and international organizations' publications. The main output of this review was identification of the biosecurity gaps and their impact on food security.

This study notes that, although the Kenyan biosecurity system is still within its formative stage, it will have to overcome a lot of challenges in order to meet food security needs. This study proposes the establishment of a national biosecurity authority, community engagement strategies, human resource development and training, and regional and international collaboration and partnerships for infrastructure development and establishment of a communication network to assess, collect and share information and research findings. In addition, this study provokes biosecurity experts and stakeholders to consider efficient structures to protect agricultural resources for food security in Kenya.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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