The Sh5b hunger pangs

September 16, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, September 16 – The government on Tuesday said it required Sh5.3 billion to effectively assist 3.5 million Kenyans faced with starvation as a result of rising food prices.

“Not all the money will come from the Treasury because we are partnering with development partners like World Food Programme (WFP),” said Special Programmes Minister Dr Naomi Shaaban.

She added: “Earlier, there had been an appeal from WFP to different countries and there was a major campaign because this situation had been anticipated.”

Addressing a press conference, Shaaban said the short term strategies would include importation of 65,000 metric tones of cereals. She said provision of drought tolerant seeds, mass livestock vaccination and pest control, management of acute malnutrition and water trucking would also be done over the next six months.

Shaaban noted that maize production had been slightly affected by poor weather in semi arid areas, displacement after the post election crisis and high agricultural input prices. She also noted that according to an assessment by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group in July and August this year, close to1.4 million people in rural areas were food insecure and had no purchasing power.

“These people will not be able to meet their minimum food requirements in the next six months without external support,” warned the Minister, adding that the figure included an estimated 300,000 people mainly former internally displaced persons who required assistance as they continued to settle.

The survey covered 30 districts in drought-prone arid and semi- arid districts plus those districts affected by the post 2007 election violence. The worst affected areas include Turkana, Mandera, Samburu, Baringo, Marsabit, Wajir,   Moyale and Garissa districts.

Also affected are Isiolo, Laikipia, Ijiara, Taita Taveta, Kitui, Mwingi, Makueni, Mbeere, Malindi, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River and Kajiado districts. At the same time, Northern Kenya and Arid lands Minister Mohamed Elmi said there were ongoing efforts to expand the national food reserve.

“There are plans to make sure that meat and milk are also put as part of national food reserve,” Elmi said.

Last year 3 million people in the country faced starvation.



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