Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has urged food-secure counties in Kenya to share surplus produce with those severely affected by drought.
The deputy president revealed that some 4.35 million Kenyans were in dire need of food and water.
According to Gachagua, some 2.5 million livestock countrywide have since died due to lack of pasture.
The DP made the remarks on Thursday, November 3, when he presided over the opening of the Mombasa International Show at the Mkomani Showgrounds.
“As you are aware, Kenya and indeed the Horn of Africa, are facing extraordinary food and nutritional situation due to prolonged drought. As we speak, over 4.35 million Kenyans are in need of food and water. We have lost over 2.5 million livestock. The numbers grow every minute. These are not numbers. They are lives and livelihoods,” said Gachagua.
The deputy president pledged to improve drought response.
“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.
“Meanwhile, I appeal to all the county governments, through the Council of Governors, to moot a coordinated plan to supply food from the surplus-producing counties to the affected regions. I also appeal to them to consider lifting of the CESS for food in transit to the affected zones,” said the DP.
CESS fees is a form of tax charged by county governments on goods when they move across county borders.
At the same time, the DP urged the youth to embrace agriculture, saying it’s one the surest ways of becoming food-secure.
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“I am particularly concerned that despite the promising innovations from our young people, there is low youth participation in agriculture, inadequate integration of ICT and low mechanisation in production. That is why we are spearheading sustained agricultural reforms to accelerate integration of smart farming as conceived under the Kenya Kwanza Plan,” said Gachagua.
Eleven (11) counties namely Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kitui, Mandera, Marsabit, Laikipia, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir are in severe drought phase.
Nine counties Embu, Kilifi, Kwale, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi and Taita Taveta are in the alert drought phase.
Baringo, West Pokot and Lamu are in normal drought phase.