Things might not get any better for the year 2019 in terms of drought and food scarcity, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has said.
The Authority reports that food, livestock, water, health and nutrition, education, peace and security will be hard-hit by the current situation, if appropriate mitigation measures are not put in place.
“The most affected counties on the basis of the number of food insecure population are; Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Baringo, Tana River, Kitui, Makueni, Kilifi, and Meru (Meru North),” noted NDMA in the report.
The number of those in dire need of food and water has been on a steady rise, from 1.1 million in February 2019 to 2.6 million in August 2019.
For the first four months of 2019, the government used at least Ksh1.85 billion to help famine-stricken areas, hoping that the long rains would change things. However, the rains failed in some parts of the country while in others it was inadequate to grow crops.
“Food and safety net was allocated Ksh602 million, household irrigation water storage programme Ksh600 million while provision of strategic water facilities, maintenance and rehabilitation HAD Ksh650 million. Ksh395.3 million was paid as emergency cash transfers to 38,014 additional drought vulnerable households in Wajir, Mandera, Turkana and Marsabit Counties to enable them to meet their basic food needs and to cushion against depletion of their livelihood assets,” the report read.
In July, the government announced that it would open window for millers to import 12.5 million bags of maize to cushion the maize shortage in the country.
“We require to import 10 million bags between now and December, that is white maize for human consumption, we are also required to import 2.5 million bags of maize to cushion dairy farmers,” said Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.
Days later, Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund chairperson Noah Wekesa rubbished Kiunjuri’s statement, saying that it was “artificial” and exaggerated to justify plans by cartels to import the grain.
“We only consume 1.5 million bags per month. There are more than 760,000 bags at NCPB and we bought another two million bags bringing the total to about 2.8 million bags yet to be sold to millers,” explained Wekesa.
Wekesa said he had credible information that farmers are still hoarding unconfirmed tonnage of maize that the Government can purchase to increase its stock at the NCPB and avert the need for overseas importation.