, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The government has assured the country that it is putting in place mitigation and crisis response mechanisms to respond to an anticipated drought within the next few months.
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi told Parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the Ministries of Agriculture, Special Program, Livestock, Provincial Administration and Education are each engaged in individual mitigation measures.
Mr Mudavadi says the government would boost the strategic grain reserves while the Livestock Ministry had been directed to start preparations to help livestock farmers.
“It is the responsibility of Ministry Special Programs to ensure that the National Cereals and Produce Board will have sufficient resources in a timely manner to be able to buy the grains from farmers,” he said.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has assured that there is enough maize for the country if the NCPB moves fast to purchase it before it is sold across the borders.”
MPs however accused the government of neglecting farmers by failing to offer favourable prices for maize which is already available.
Mr Mudavadi said a crisis response centre had been established to lead the operation.
Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa informed the DPM that the farmers in the North Rift were holding thousands of bags of maize from their bumper harvest.
“Farmers are ready with their maize and are waiting for the Prime Minister to give an order for a good price. This will help boost food reserves in this country,” he said
Kiharu MP Muturi Mwangi added: “Farmers in Subukia are watching as their maize rots in the field.”
The legislators also want the government to embark on an immediate program to purchase livestock and afford the previous crisis where thousands of them died before they could get to the buying centers.
“We don’t want to see a scenario where they will buy cows when they are about to die. Let them buy them now, starting tomorrow,” Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lesonnet urged.
Meteorologists have warned that the upcoming short rains will be inadequate leading to a drought. Mr Mudavadi said a total of five million Kenyans are likely to be affected by the drought.
“If you are concerned about this perennial crisis you should have included long-term measures including tree planting and water harvesting,” said Nominated MP George Nyamweya.
“With the cost of power likely to go up which will in turn affect the cost of essential products. The government should have measures in place to control this,” remarked Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi.