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February 22, 2018

Kitui residents face hunger in 2018 as food crops wilt

Withering maize crop at a farm in Kyuso subcounty, Kitui yesterday /MUSEMBI NZENGU
Withering maize crop at a farm in Kyuso subcounty, Kitui yesterday /MUSEMBI NZENGU

Kitui people will wake up to trying times in 2018 as the county is staring at a serious food crisis.

County National Drought Management Authority coordinator Francis Koma yesterday said a large population of residents will be struggling to put food on the table.

“Kitui people are not waking up nicely in 2018 in terms of food security. There is massive crop failure across the county due to failed rains,” Koma told the Star on the phone.

He said the October-December rains came late and did not last long to sustain the crops.

Koma said more than 90 per cent of the crops, including the normally drought resistant cow peas and green grams, wilted.

On Friday, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu expressed fears that failed rains could hurt an anticipated bumper harvest of green grams.

Through a project to promote green grams as Kitui’s cash crop, Ngilu in October launched the Ndengu Revolution programme.

The initiative is being implemented in conjunction with the Kenya Red Cross Society.

It will cost Sh200 million.

Through the programme, farmers are getting free seeds and pesticides.

Ngilu recently assured residents that despite the massive crop failure, no person in Kitui will starve.

She said her government is committed to meet the water and food needs of residents as captured in her pre-election five-pillar manifesto. 

“No one in Kitui will suffer hunger. I’m on top of things and I will make sure measures are put in place to cushion all residents from the pangs of hunger,” Ngilu said. She said her administration has distributed certified green gram seeds to more than 200 households.

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