Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said that 11 counties will be affected by the prolonged dry period
BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI, 12TH JAN 2017 – The government has set aside ksh 9 billion to mitigate the effects of drought in the country for the next two months
Speaking after chairing an inter-ministerial meeting to access the drought situation, Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri sounded an alarm that 11 counties will be affected by the dry spell, this is an increase from the five counties the government had announced in its initial assessment released late last year.
The CS said the recent assessment shows that the worst affected areas are in the country’s semi-arid south-east regions as well as some parts of central and western Kenya.
He announced that the government will be releasing Sh9.2 billion to go toward various measures aimed at mitigating the situation even as he cautioned the livestock sector will be hardest hit.
“The livestock sector is particularly at risk, because Coastal region is usually the dry season grazing fall-back and it is currently experiencing severe drought. Further, cross border mitigations are limited because neighbouring countries are also affected,” the Devolution CS told a press conference .
The inter-ministerial team will release a comprehensive report on the drought situation at the end of this month.
“The customary assessment of the short rains season is on-going. This will determine the precise impact of the season on food security and identify the number needing assistance,” the Devolution CS stated.
Kiunjuri further confirmed that National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has reported that it has 1.3 million bags for Strategic Grain Reserve as at December 22 of which maize stocks stood at 21.4 million (90Kg bags).
“According to the State Department of Agriculture the current stocks of our basic staples – maize, beans, rice, sorghum and millet are sufficient to last the country up to June 2017,” he stated.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development confirmed that they have been allocated Sh230 million to effect the livestock uptake programme meant to support pastoralists and dairy farmers in the affected areas.
The Ministry has also allocated Sh50 million to the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) assist farmer whose crops are likely to fail and cattle-herders who are also struggling to keep their animals alive.
Water CS Eugine Wamalwa who also spoke revealed that the government plans to spend more money in digging bore holes and wells as well as buying water boozers and tracks to ensure that the most affected areas are supplied with clean water.The Cs also warned politicians against politising water projects under construction by the government in various places across the country.