Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has called on Kenyans to contribute food to starving Kenyans as the Government prepares a national food distribution exercise this weekend.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Agricultural Society of Kenya Mombasa International Show on Thursday at Mkomani Showground, the DP also revealed that President William Ruto will this weekend lead national distribution of food to Kenyans affected by the ongoing drought.
Kenya is facing a prolonged drought owing to a four-year dry spell that has hit over half of the counties.
“We appeal to Kenyans to donate food to those in need. Many Kenyans are suffering and we are making this appeal to help them. No Kenyan should die from hunger when other Kenyans have surplus food,” he said.
During the event, the Kenya Ports Authority gave Sh2.1 million towards the drought-response kitty.
Already the Government has allocated Sh2 billion towards food distribution and other mitigation measures.
It is estimated that over 4 million Kenyans have been affected by the drought although with the commencement of the short rains the situation could ease in the near future. Over 2.5 million livestock have also died.
The DP promised better response from the Government as he warned against any attempts of diverting relief food for personal gain.
“It is absurd we are discussing food insecurity in the 21st century. But as the government, we will see a different Kenya in the next few days. It is our commitment,” he said.
The theme for this year’s Mombasa Show which ends on Sunday is “Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade”.
The DP said Agriculture was one of the key pillars of the ruling Kenya Kwanza administration promising better investment in the critical sector.
“The Kenya Kwanza Government has prioritised Agriculture as one of the 5 pillars of our economic recovery plan, alongside Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Housing and Settlement, Healthcare and the Digital Superhighway and Creative Economy,” he said.
So far, the Government’s response has received significant support from the private sector in cash and in kind.
“I wish to single out efforts made by the Kenya Private Sector Association- KEPSA, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers- KAM, The Kenya Red Cross Society who are playing a key role in the distribution of relief food, development partners and international humanitarian agencies 12 as well as Kenyans of Goodwill in response to the drought situation,” he said.
He also challenged the youth to take part in farming, saying their participation was critical in ensuring success in the sector.
He said Kenya Kwanza’s administration was keen on integrating the youth in Agriculture.
“We do not want to produce for consumption only, but for income too. We count on the youth. We will continue providing an enabling environment for the youth to take our agriculture to the next level, where it also becomes a tool for fighting climate change,” he said.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said his immediate duty was to improve food production in the country in a bid to end hunger.
“We must work together to end perennial food shortages. We will work with the counties to ensure we produce adequate food for our people. We need to stop the perennial quest for food donations,” said Linturi.
Also present were Cabinet Secretaries Salim Mvurya (Mining and Blue Economy), Aisha Jumwa (Public Service and Gender), Governors Abdulswamad Nassir (Mombasa) and Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi).