, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – At least 200,000 people in urban slums will benefit from a food subsidy programme in a government’s effort to alleviate the current food crisis.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said a cash transfer of Sh2,000 would be given per month to the beneficiaries of the programme which would target people in informal settlements of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
This will be done through mobile phone money transfer (M-Pesa) or smart card, he said.
“The programme will initially be funded by redirecting part of the budget allocated to the Ministry of Gender for the gunny bag programme,” he said adding that they would also secure a loan from the World Bank sufficient to finance the programme over the next few years.
In addition, the government would distribute two gunny bags per household in urban slums to assist them grow food in open spaces.
The Premier added that Sh10.9 billion would go towards mitigation measures in arid and semi- arid areas.
“The international community should help finance purchases of relief food and to replenish our strategic reserves to at least 2.3 million bags,” he said.
The estimated cost of the new purchases and replenishment of reserves was Sh6.9 billion.
The government has further directed that half a million bags of maize be released from the strategic reserves for famine relief.
The reserves are currently holding 2.2 million bags of maize. National policies require that they have eight million bags of maize at any one time.
“We are aware that the further withdrawal of 500,000 bags will put us in a precarious position but given the gravity of the current crisis, the government has no other option but to act,” he said.