President Ruto, DP Gachagua to lead food drive in 12 counties on Saturday

President William Ruto flags off relief food to aid the effects of drought in 23 Counties. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

President William Ruto will tomorrow, Saturday, lead the launch of a food distribution drive in twelve counties affected by drought.

The President will kick start the exercise at Nakalale in Turkana County and later in the day at Baragoi in Samburu.

The nationwide launch will see Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua preside over a similar event at the Bisil livestock market and Amboseli in Kajiado County. At Manyata, he will flag off hay and an assortment of animal feed for wildlife. Almost a quarter of the population in the county is under threat of hunger and starvation.

First Lady Rachel Ruto and Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, DP Rigathi Gachagua's wife, will jointly distribute food in Nairobi's informal settlements of Mukuru Kaiyaba in Embakasi and Kahawa Soweto in Kasarani.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi will be in Machakos, while Cabinet Secretaries Moses Kuria, Kipchumba Murkomen, Aden Duale, Alice Wahome, Salim Mvurya, Mithika Linturi, and Peninah Malonza will be on the same mission in Machakos, Kieni (Nyeri), Marsabit, Garissa, Habaswein (Wajir), Voi (Taita Taveta), (Mbeere) Embu and Kitui respectively.

On Friday, the DP met with representatives of the private sector and various State agencies to finalise plans for the buying and distribution of food tomorrow.

Following the failure of four successive rainy seasons, 4.3 million people across the country are currently at risk, with 3.1 million of them in the crisis phase and another 1.2 million at the emergency stage.

“It is absurd we are discussing food insecurity in the 21st century. As government, we will ensure that Kenya changes and no longer have to depend on food donations. It is our commitment that Kenya should be able to feed itself,” the Deputy President said after the meeting at his Harambee House Annex office.

Nearly one million of those affected are children and another 1.2 million are pregnant and lactating mothers.

President William Ruto flags off relief food at State House to mitigate effects of drought in 23 counties. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

To alleviate hunger, the government will tomorrow, Saturday, launch the nationwide distribution of food to the most affected communities.

This drive will involve the private and public sectors 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, and Kenya Red Cross Society have played 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 rains 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 inter-generational wealth for families whose source of livelihood largely depends on their animals.

At tomorrow’s launch, the government will initiate immediate solutions to the ongoing drought as it continues to plan long-term measures that will secure the country’s food security in the future.

“The Government has given agriculture priority as it is one of the five pillars of our economic recovery plan,” DP Gachagua said at the opening of the Mombasa International show on Wednesday.