50 per cent of Kwale County residents in need of relief food
By Tobias Chanji | July 28th 2016
Authorities have reported that close to 350,000 people in four sub-counties face a food shortage and require urgent aid.
This figure translates to about half of the county's population that is facing hunger due to the lack of rains.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Planning launched relief operations in the affected sub-counties. Principal Secretary Josephta Mukobe advised the locals to strive to be self-reliant.
"Let us not depend too much on relief food because it will not always be there. Next time I come here, I want to be the one carrying food to Nairobi," she said.
The PS noted that in the last four months, her ministry had been supplying relief food to the entire coastal region. In April, May, June and July, 900 bags of maize, 9,450 bags of rice, 5,050 bags of beans and 1,825l of oil were supplied to the six counties of the Coast region.
"This shows that we are mindful of the people. But we also wish that the citizens could learn to manage their own food," she added.
Most farmers in the county blame the lack of rains for the poor harvest.
Ms Mukobe asked residents to plant crops that are drought-resistant instead of depending only on perennial crops like maize and beans.
"It is bad that there was drought but let us plant crops that will not be affected by drought; crops like sorghum, millet and cassava," she advised.
She also called on the residents to start irrigation farming as a way to mitigate prolonged droughts.
County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka said over 310,000 people have been affected by hunger.
"The last rains were not enough and, therefore, what residents harvested was not enough," said Mr Olaka.
He noted that there was more hunger in Kinango and Lunga Lunga sub-counties. In Kinango, over 160,000 people have been affected.
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