Gov’t sets aside Ksh 1.6B to address drought

Willy Bett

The government has announced that it will start importing maize if the awaited long rains fail to come by June and the country’s maize reserves are depleted.

According to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Willy Bett, his Ministry is tracking availability of maize and global prices in a bid to start sourcing grain imports from countries that have maize that is not organically modified.

“The government has constituted a multi-agency team that is conducting comprehensive drought and food security assessment to inform on the severity of the drought and will be ready by January 27, 2017,” said Bett.

The CS further added that adequate measures have been put in place to restrict movement of maize out of the country until the situation stabilizes.

On his part, Water CS, Eugene Wamalwa, announced a further allocation of 1.6 billion shillings for drought mitigation saying his Ministry is pushing for sourcing of alternative water sources to remedy the situation.

“We want to look at boreholes to ensure they are rehabilitated and restored. We are also purchasing collapsible water tanks to store water,” said Wamalwa.

“We will put in place the water harvesting and storage authority to ensure in future we have enough water for animals and livestock.”

Wamalwa further indicated that his Ministry was preparing for the Northern Collector Tunnel to help in water harvesting and to boost the Ndakaini Dam.

Treasury CS, Henry Rotich, affirmed that the 2,700 shilling monthly cash transfer per household will continue in Arid and Semi-Arid areas of the country as well as distribution of relief food.

The Cabinet Secretaries now say they will next week issue a comprehensive report on exact amount required for necessary mitigation measures, with currents estimates standing at 9.5 billion shillings.

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