Linturi dashes compensation hopes for flood-affected farmers

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi answers questions before a Senate Plenary at Senate chambers in Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi has dismissed any possibility of providing financial compensation to farmers whose crops were destroyed in the recent flash floods.

According to Linturi, his ministry cannot allocate funds to assist affected farmers without a specific budgetary provision.

“The government’s emergency response to emergencies occasioned by floods does not include compensation to crop and livestock farmers affected by floods. There is no budgetary allocation for the purpose of compensation of the farmers,” remarked Linturi.

The Agriculture CS further disclosed that the government has yet to assess the full extent of crop damage caused by floodwaters across the country. 

He indicated that assessments would commence once the rainy season concludes.

The CS made these remarks in response to Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana during his appearance before the Senate plenary on Wednesday, May 22. 

Bura, Tana, Hola, and other irrigation schemes in Tana River, which together cover over 10,000 acres, were submerged. These schemes cultivate mangoes, bananas, citrus, maize, watermelons, and other crops.

“The estimated value of crops lost in these schemes is over Sh734 million. Tana River County also lost 680 goats and 510 sheep as well as grazing and pasture lands,” said Linturi.

Furthermore, he assured that the government is vigilant against vector-borne livestock diseases and is currently procuring and distributing vaccines to prevent outbreaks.

"We have procured 1.4 million doses of Rift Valley Fever vaccine and four hundred and fifty thousand doses of the blue tongue disease vaccine," he confirmed.

The El Niño phenomenon of October-November-December 2023 and recent heavy rains have not only resulted in significant financial losses, but have also exacerbated the country's food security challenges.

Crackdown on slaughterhouses

CS Linturi also announced that the government has established a multi-agency team to eliminate unsafe meat from the market.

This team, comprising personnel from the Ministries of Agriculture, Interior, and Health, will target those violating the Meat Control Act.

"We have initiated highway patrols, set up roadblocks, implemented weekly compliance inspections, and identified illegal slaughterhouses, particularly those dealing in donkey meat," he stated.