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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Drought fund gets Sh2.2b from China

Chinese ambassador Liu Xianfa and Finance CS Henry Rotich
Chinese ambassador Liu Xianfa and Finance CS Henry Rotich

Kenya will receive a Sh2.25 billion grant from the Chinese government to buy food to mitigate the effects of the prevailing drought.

The National Treasury and the Chinese Embassy signed notes for humanitarian assistance in Nairobi on Monday.

Under the deal, China will bring in 21,000 metric tonnes of rice, which is expected to arrive in three weeks.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Treasury CS Henry Rotich said Kenya is facing an “unprecedented shortfall of staple foods, particularly maize”. About three million people in urban and rural areas face hunger.

“Indeed, because of not getting adequate food, children less than five years and expectant and lactating mothers are highly vulnerable to malnutrition,” Rotich said.

He said the government has been taking short-term measures to address the current food crisis.

This includes mobilising funds through expenditure reprioritisation to meet the cost of importing maize and other foodstuffs, and providing water in arid areas.

“However, the challenge is daunting and our budgetary resources are not adequate to deal with it. This grant will therefore go a long way in supplementing the ongoing government efforts,” Rotich said.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Xianfa said: “We are doing our best to get rice in Kenya as soon as possible.”

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