Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Friday met with representatives from the private sector and various state agencies in a consultative meeting to finalize on modalities for the purchase and distribution of relief food in preparation for the nationwide launch of the national relief food distribution.
Following the failure of successive rainy seasons more than 4.3 million people across the country are currently at risk with some 3.1 million people at the crisis phase and another 1.2 million are at the emergency state.
“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,” the Deputy President said after the meeting held at his official office.
Approximately 1million of those affected are children and another 1.2 million are pregnant and lactating mothers.
In response to the ongoing situation, the government will tomorrow, Saturday November 5th launch the nationwide distribution of food to the most affected communities. This drive will involve both the private sector and the public sector targeting to get food and water to communities that are most in need across the country.
So far, the Kenya Private Sector Association (KEPSA), the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), The Kenya Red Cross Society continue to play a key role in the country’s response to the drought.
The 2020-2022 drought has been the most severe and the longest, the worst in 40 years. In addition, there have been inadequate or no rains at all in the past four years. The drought and other effects of climate change have made agricultural production impossible in many parts of the country, leading to severe food shortages.
In the last long rain season, 30 million bags of maize were harvested yet the national requirement is 40 million bags.
Pastoral communities have also been hard hit with livestock deaths reaching a 2.5 million high, wiping out intergenerational wealth for families whose source of livelihood largely depends on their livestock.
Tomorrow’s launch will see the government initiate immediate solutions to the ongoing drought as it continues to put in place long- term measures that will secure the country’s food security in the coming years.
“The Kenya Kwanza Government has prioritized agriculture as one of the 5 pillars of our economic recovery plan,” DP Gachagua said at the opening of the Mombasa International Show on Wednesday.
During the nationwide launch, the Deputy President will preside over distribution of relief items in Kajiado County, where nearly a quarter of the population lives under the threat of hunger and starvation.