By Tobby Otum
President William Ruto has announced the Government has made a new allocation of Sh 2 billion for food relief to counties affected by the severe drought in many parts of the country.
Speaking today while being installed as the Patron of the Kenya Red Cross Society at State House, Nairobi, President Ruto said the Government will also collaborate with development partners and the private sector to raise an additional Sh10 billion.
The allocation of the Sh 2 billion comes after a previous allocation of Sh 3.2 billion by the Government for the purchase of relief food.
“We are making available another Sh 2 billion to support food distribution to the affected areas. We are working with development partners to raise another Sh 10 billion to ensure no part of the country is unfairly affected by drought,” said the President.
The President said he was confident that the interventions being undertaken together with development partners and the private sector will save the lives of Kenyans in areas worst affected by the drought.
He said the Kenya Red Cross Society will continue playing an integral role in the efforts to mitigate the drought which has affected 20 of the 23 counties categorized as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL).
President Ruto said KRCS will be allocated Sh 260 million out of the Sh 2 billion targeted for the relief exercise. The society will additionally handle another Sh 340 million which was pledged by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
The President said the KRCS will use the Sh 600 million to buy food from areas in the country that have food surplus such as Western, parts of the Rift Valley, and Nyandarua County among others.
Part of the new allocation will be channeled to support the animal offtake program through which the Government buys weak livestock from pastoralists. The President said half of the animals are slaughtered and the meat distributed to locals while the other half are taken to the Kenya Meat Commission where their meat is canned for distribution to schools.
The Head of State also announced that Sh 200 million will be allocated to the Kenya Wildlife Service to undertake water trucking for wildlife in Kenya’s national parks and reserves.
The Head of State said that even as the Government leads efforts to respond to the drought emergency, it remains focused on plans to ensure a constant and predictable food supply in the future.
He said predictability in the supply of food is being ensured through the provision of cheap fertilizer and seeds, and the construction of enough dams to support irrigation among several other measures.
The President said that the Government is also determined to put in place robust measures to combat climate change, which is the root cause of the adverse weather patterns around the world.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua attended the event where the President was installed as Patron of KRCS. Also attending the event were KRCS Board Chair Geoffrey Koriri, Secretary General Dr. Asha Mohamed and officials of affiliate organizations of KRCS.
“I am mindful and highly appreciative of the important role played by the Kenya Red Cross, Regionally and Internationally. We are proud of the enhanced peer-to-peer support that you offer other National Societies in various thematic areas,” said President Ruto.