Kenya ministers brief president on drought

July 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday received a comprehensive report on the current water, food and energy situation in the country.

During the meeting, which was also attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Ministers for Water and Irrigation, Agriculture, Special Programmes, Livestock and Energy briefed the President on the water, food and energy crises and discussed the mitigation measures put in place to address the shortages.

The President said all steps must be taken to cushion Kenyans against the current food and water shortages and the shortfall in the energy production due to reduced rains.

In January this year, President Kibaki declared the food crisis a national disaster. Since then the Government has taken various measures to address the food and water shortage that was worsened by reduced rains in the last season.

In her report, Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu said the Government targets to drill 250 water boreholes across the country, 50 of which will be in Nairobi to address the acute water shortage.

The Water Minister noted that already 15 boreholes have been drilled in Nairobi and the remaining 35 will be completed by August 31.

In his brief, Agriculture Minister William Ruto outlined the measures his Ministry is taking to bridge the grain shortfall in the country occasioned by insufficient rains in the main producing areas in the country. The measures include the extension of the importation of duty -free maize to January next year.

The Agriculture Minister said the Government has also made arrangements to ensure there is adequate free and subsidised fertilizers and certified seeds to boost production.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said his ministry has taken measures to ensure the production of an extra 246 Megawatts to meet the country’s increasing demand for electricity.

The Energy Minister pointed out that while Sh10.2 billion is required for running emergency power capacity, Sh4.5 billion has already been provided for emergency power supply in this year’s budget.

In his presentation, Livestock Minister Mohammed Kuti noted that the ongoing drought in parts of the country has affected 3.3 million cattle, nine million sheep and goats, 150,000 donkeys and the lives of 524,000 households. In this regard he called for urgent measures to address the situation.

Other ministers who presented reports included Forestry and Wildlife Minister Dr Noah Wekesa, and Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands Minister Ibrahim Elmi Mohammed.  

The meeting was also attended by ministers Prof George Saitoti, John Michuki and Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Permanent Secretaries from the line ministries.


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