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February 19, 2018

Sh2.5bn needed to avert hunger

A customer picks tomatoes at as shelve in Carrefour supermarket.At least Sh2.5 billion is required to deal with effects of food shortage between now and January next year, according to estimates by the government.PHOTO/ENOS TECHE.
A customer picks tomatoes at as shelve in Carrefour supermarket.At least Sh2.5 billion is required to deal with effects of food shortage between now and January next year, according to estimates by the government.PHOTO/ENOS TECHE.

At least Sh2.5 billion is required to deal with the effects of food shortage between now and January next year, according to government estimates.

Although short rains are expected in a month’s time, the National Drought Management Authority says it will not be enough to end a looming shortage.

“Staple food prices remain high, and incomes from livestock and milk sales remain low. Food consumption will decline as more households increasingly rely on coping strategies to fill the gaps,” the NDMA says in its 2017 Long Rains Season Assessment Report.

Of the Sh2.5 billion, at least Sh381 million should be used to scale-up health and nutritional programmes in at least 15 worst-hit counties, the authority says.

A total of Sh459 million is needed to scale-up farming in arid counties. The NDMA said part of the money should go into provision of early maturing and drought tolerant crops, provision of relief seed, fertiliser and farm input and land preparation subsidy.

The authority also proposes that farmers be provided with chemicals to stop the fall armyworms during the short rains.

The authority says the measures are important to prevent malnutrition and loss of livestock as the country heads to January – the beginning of the dry season.

“The national food security situation remains unstable. This has been evolving since the erratic long rains in 2016 that resulted in maize production of 10 per cent below average,” the report says. The authority says from the Sh2.5 billion, at least Sh964 million should be used to buy and distribute emergency supplementary feed concentrates, molasses and salt for animals.

The money would also be used for emergency livestock off-take and to prevent disease transmission.

The authority said Sh405 million will be needed to truck water and rehabilitate boreholes across the country. A further Sh50 million should be used to enhance peace in Wajir, Isiolo, Laikipia, Lamu, Baringo and Samburu.

The report comes as the meteorological department said most parts of the country are likely to experience “good rains that will be well-distributed”, both in time and space from October to November.

 

 

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