, Nairobi, Kenya, Jun 22 – The government said on Tuesday that it requires at least Sh15 billion to stock the Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) with adequate amounts against famine.
Special Programmes Assistant Minister Muhamud Ali told Parliament that the reserves only have three million bags of out of the required eight million.
He blamed Treasury for ignoring their requests for more funding and saying that have received only Sh1 billion in the last two financial years.
“Unfortunately nothing can be done from my part because the rest of resources I have in the ministry are not even enough to run the rest of the programmes. However we have requested a meeting with the Treasury officials,” he said.
Mr Ali was responding to a question by Naivasha MP John Mututho who sought to know the steps taken to increase the SGR.
"This government has a habit of ignoring food issues which end up becoming food scandals," said Mr Mututho, in reference to last year’s maize scandal where 3.4 million bags of maize were sold from the Strategic Grain Reserve at a time the country was experiencing an acute food shortage and drought.
The strategic reserve is supposed to cushion the nation against severe food shortage as well as to assist in stabilisation of local prices of grain.
The Assistant Minister told Parliament that they were planning to purchase maize from farmers to bridge the gap. He was however not able to give the food security forecast for the next 12 months explaining that the Ministry of Agriculture was responsible for that.
Meanwhile, the August House was also confirmed that the National Cereals and Produce Board is yet to include milk powder in the strategic grain reserves, a year after President Mwai Kibaki ordered the Ministry to do so.