, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – The government has set aside Sh12 billion in the current financially year for poverty reduction and development in the country.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi says the government will issue cash transfers to more than 450,000 Kenyans who cannot afford to put food on the table.
The cash transfer program targets four categories that include poor and vulnerable older persons above 65 years, orphans and vulnerable children, persons with severe disabilities and the urban food subsidy program to help them purchase basic needs, with each receiving a total of Sh2,000 per month.
“The program targets beneficiaries on a basis of poverty and population indices provided by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics,” he stated.
In the older persons cash program , the number of beneficiaries was at 59,000 in the then 210 constituencies by June 2013 and the program will expand to 160,000 by June 2014.
Cash transfers to persons with severe disabilities was started in 2010 with 2100 beneficiaries, with the number of beneficiaries at 14,700 in all 210 constituencies the number is set to increase to 27,200 this financial year.
“Since its implementation beneficiaries have been enabled to purchase basic needs, access medical attention, education of grand children and even investments in small business,” he said.
Cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children currently covers 153,139 households and will be scaled up to cover 253,000 households by June 2014.
He said that all county coordinators will form constituency social assistance committees whose patron will be the area Member of Parliament in order to ensure transparency and accountability and that most deserving beneficiaries benefit.
With the population of Kenya at about 40 million, its estimated that about 46.7 percent of the population are poor and cannot meet the cost of a basic food bundle.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Jubilee Coalition’s landmark irrigation project by commissioning a 10,000 acre Galana-Kulalu model farm early this month as part of the plan to irrigate one million acres in the next five years.
According to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskey, out of the land that will be irrigated in the next five years, 500 acres will be under maize production, 200 acres under sugarcane, 150 acres will be used for livestock keeping, 100 acres under horticulture while 50 acres will be for crop rotation.
President Kenyatta expressed confidence that the irrigation project will ensure food security for all Kenyans and encouraged public-private partnerships in its implementation.