Food security boost as development partners pledge aid to fight drought

Agriculture and Livestock CS Mithika Linturi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Development partners have pledged to partner with the government to address effects of climate change that have led to prolonged drought, leading to loss of lives and livestock.

The development partners include the United States African Development Foundation, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi welcomed the pledge as the country faces acute food shortage due to four failed rain seasons.

Speaking after meeting a delegation of from WFP led by Country Director Lauren Landis, who paid him a courtesy call at Kilimo House on Thursday, Mr Linturi said the support will boost food security.

"WFP is a valuable partner to Kenya and my ministry will work closely with them for the benefit of Kenyans especially in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands where there's an acute shortage of food," he said.

The delegation hailed new government policies on food security that include new farming technologies, lowering of agriculture production cost.

"We are happy with the mitigation measures that the government has pledged to prioritise agriculture activities that will guarantee sustainable development on food security," Landis said.

Linturi also held talks with the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), Director of Program Operations for Africa Timothy Nzioka.

"I am committed to working with development partners to find a long-term solution to the cyclic impacts of climate change that has severely affected parts of the country," added Linturi.

Mr Nzioka promised that the foundation will enhance relations with the government to ensure all mitigation measures are implemented to combat drought.

"We are determined to offer our help to save lives and livestock from the prolonged drought," Nzioka said.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Kenya Henriette Geiger also pledged to help combat the drought that has affected 24 counties.

Linturi is scheduled to travel to Rome, Italy this weekend to attend the 171th session of FAO council on food crisis and responses in Kenya.

The current drought has been the most severe and longest with widespread livelihood loses and massive displacement of people.

Currently, more than 4.2 million people representing 24 per cent of the ASAL population are facing acute food insecurity with about 2.7 million people in the crisis phase and 785,000 people the emergency state.

In September last year, former President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster while President William Ruto's administration has already announced a new allocation of Sh2 billion for food relief to the affected counties.

The government is also collaborating with development partners and the private sector to raise an additional Sh10 billion. The national steering committee on drought response has also released payment details for Kenyans willing to donate cash to assist those affected.

Those willing to contribute to the fund can use pay bill number 880990 and use their name as the account number