NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – A Sh1billion kitty has been launched by Kamba professionals to help fight the food shortage in Ukambani.,
The kitty dubbed ‘Mutui Museo’ (Good Neighbour) aims to implement long term development plans to address famine in Eastern province.
Speaking during the launch, Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu said corruption and misuse of natural resources was to blame for the food shortages in the country. “If we harvest water from the rain we get; store water and do irrigation, we will give enough food to our people,” Mrs Ngilu said. “In Ukambani, we have very fertile soils, and all we need is water,” the minister said.
Alsp present at the launch was her Nairobi Metropolitan counterpart Mutula Kilonzo who said Kenya was better off using the monies that go towards importing food to producing food locally.
“Right now we are spending close to 20 billion shillings just buying and importing food. That money is enough to convert the south-eastern region of this country into a bread basket,” Mr Kilonzo said.
More than two million people are facing starvation in Ukambani – one of the regions worst hit by the raging drought -according to statistics from the Kenya Red Cross.
One of the most affected districts is Kibwezi, which is usually known as one of the more productive areas in Ukambani.
More than 15,000 families there are on the brink of starvation owing to three consecutive years of crop failure. Malnutrition has also been reported in the area.
Wells and rivers have also dried up and locals have to walk for close to five hours to get water.
At least 10 million Kenyans are faced with hunger with, according to the government, which has declared the famine a national disaster and launched an international appeal for Sh37 billion for relief food.
The government has removed import duty on all food items to help ease the shortage and lower prices of food.