•Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago has criticised the regime of former President Uhuru Kenyatta for abolishing the SGR, thus exposing the country to severe famine.
• Food reserves would also have helped to stabilise prices of commodities like unga, thus easing the high cost of living .
Farmers and MPs from North Rift have asked the government to revive the Strategic Grain Reserves that operated under the NCPB to store food reserves for the country.
They said food reserves would have helped to mitigate the famine in 22 counties affecting more than five million people.
Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago has criticised the previous regime of former President Uhuru Kenyatta for abolishing the SGR, thus exposing the country to severe famine.
“If we had stored food under the SGR we wouldn’t have faced severe shortages that killed people and animals. The government would have simply moved quickly to get the food from the SGR and give it out,” Mandago said.
He said the food reserves would also have helped to stabilise prices of commodities like unga, thus easing the high costs of living.
“These people demonstrating because of high food prices were the ones responsible for the prices going up. They were part of government as SGR was abolished and as money for subsidies was misused,” Mandago said.
He said that instead of storing food at the NCPB, some individuals "pocketed the money and exposed Kenyans to famine,” he said.
Farmers in the region led by Edward Kiptoo, Joseph Melly and Shilla Bett said separately the reasons for having the strategic reserves was to have food whenever drought affected the country.
We call on the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure food strategic reserves are restored so that if there will be enough rains this year more food may be stored for the future,” Melly said.
Mandago said the purpose of constructing food silos in different parts of the country was to ensure food security, hence, the need to revert back to the storage system.
“If the government had its own food reserves at the moment, we could be supplying food to the areas experiencing serious food shortages without any major challenges or without being forced to borrow," the senator said.
Kiptoo said the government should also financially support key institutions in the agriculture sector including then NCPB and the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) so that they play their central role in helping farmers to produce adequate food for the country.
The farmers want the government to prepare to buy their maize this year and store it under SGR whose operations they said should be revived as soon as possible.
(Edited by V. Graham)