Kenya plans to import maize to ease ongoing drought

Ministry of agriculture, currently tracking availability of maize and global prices in a bid to start sourcing grain imports

 

The long rains season in Kenya is normally expected from March/April to May/June while the short rains season occurs from October to November December as predicated by the Kenya Meteorological Department.

The Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture, Willy Bett said  his Ministry is currently tracking availability of maize and global prices in a bid to start sourcing grain imports from countries that have maize that is not genetically modified (GMO).

“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,” the CS said.

Willy Bett, sought to assure the public that there is enough maize to last the country for five months. The agriculture CS announced following a ground survey done by his ministry it was revealed that Kenya has 21 million bags of maize in its national reserve and what farmers were hoarding

On his part, the Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation, Eugene Wamalwa, announced his ministry had set aside 1.6 billion shillings for drought mitigation. He further added that his Ministry was 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,” the water CS said as reported by a local daily.

Wamalwa denied media reports that the government was resorting to knee jack reactions, and had failed to plan in advance on how to deal with the situation, even after being warned that drought will be experienced in the country following the El- Nino phenomenon which occurred last year.

The CS instead said the government was working to ensure mitigating measures was in place for future weather patterns.

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

Bett also announced that the government will be buying cattle from arid and semi-arid communities in a bid to save their livelihood from diminishing due to the ongoing drought.

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 are expected to issue a comprehensive report next week on the exact amount required for necessary mitigation measures, which currently stands at 9.5 billion shillings.

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