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PRESS RELEASE DROUGHT RESPONSE MEASURES
1. As we all know, our country is facing severe drought with adverse effects on lives of our people and livestock. This time, however, unlike in 2008 and 2009, it is not just confined to Kenya -- it is affecting most of the parts in Eastern Africa, or better known as The Horn of Africa. 2. The Government wishes to reiterate its full commitment to finding a lasting mitigation solution to drought related challenges. We have demonstrated this commitment by implementing various strategic interventions, especially in the areas of; irrigation under Economic Stimulus Program; expanded budget for dams, pans, boreholes and water harvesting; and enhanced food relief and drought mitigation initiatives. 3. As was the case in 2009/10 and 2010/11 budgets, we made adequate provisions in 2011/12 budget to mitigate effects of drought. However, the scale of disaster associated with the worsening drought has increased and we recognize that more resources are now required to mitigate its effects on the lives of our fellow Kenyans. 4. Through the 2011/12 budget, we have taken a bold step to respond to the drought related challenges of famine, while at the same time initiating medium to long term measures through countrywide irrigation to kick out hunger and transform our country in a food secure and net exporter of food. It is for this reason that we set aside funds amounting to Ksh.14.4 billion that was earmarked for strategic interventions to deal with the drought related challenges. These include:
• Ksh. 8.5 billion for expansion of irrigation and Ksh. 2.2 billion for water harvesting • Ksh. 400 million for establishment of a livestock off-take fund; • Ksh. 930 million for other strategic interventions in ASAL areas; and • Ksh. 2.4 billion as safety net to cushion the poor and vulnerable groups. 5. Prior to that, we had also made available substantial resources through budgetary reallocations in the last supplementary budget for 2010/11 to fund various measures to mitigate the emerging adverse effects of the drought. 6. These measures, notwithstanding, we are now faced with an increase in the number of Kenyans requiring emergency assistance and many more of our people are increasingly becoming food insecure due to the worsening drought, especially in the northern parts of our country. More women and children are in need of food assistance, water, and health care. Our pastoralists have also lost their livestock and their livelihood is under threat. 7. We are not just allocating budget resources to address these challenges we are also taking appropriate actions to assure sustainable food availability in the country, while also fast tracking relief efforts to save lives from hunger. Indeed as a Government that cares for the welfare of her citizen, we have responded swiftly and comprehensively. i. Already, H.E. The President declared the drought situation a national disaster allowing for importation of maize duty free. The importation of maize complemented by the start of harvesting in some parts of the country in July 2011 has helped to stabilize prices, especially of maize flour, a staple food for majority of our households. And on 14th July 2011, the Cabinet approved implementation of various drought mitigation programs amounting to Ksh.10.5 billion, including the existing provision of Ksh.1.3 billion. This amount is to be financed from 2011/12 budgetary provisions under ministries concerned, including reallocations and budget cuts from other programs to the tune of Ksh.5.7 billion, and provision of Ksh.4 billion from contingencies. In addition, the Cabinet approved borrowing of 500,000 bags of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve for famine relief intervention.
8. On 14th June 2011 Parliament passed Vote on Account allowing ministries to spend one half of their proposed spending under 2011/12 budget. With these authorities of the Parliament and cabinet, the Government has acted swiftly to respond to on-going drought related challenges as follows:
The Trustees of the Strategic Grain Reserve met and authorized immediate release of 500,000 bags of maize for relief distribution. We have moved with speed to mobilize government agencies to ensure food relief is delivered to those in need in every part of the country. To this end, the military and National Youth Service personnel are actively involved in food distribution. The Treasury last week released Ksh.2 billion to the ministries that are undertaking urgent drought intervention measures as follows: Relief Food – Ksh. 1 billion under the Ministry of Special Program Emergency School Feeding Programme – Ksh. 400 million Water trucking – Ksh. 400 million Emergency Livestock Off-take – Ksh. 100 million; and Emergency Health & Nutrition Interventions – Ksh. 100 million
The Treasury has further released Ksh. 2.1 billion to National Irrigation Board to facilitate production of more food supplies through irrigation. We expect, together with on-going planting that most irrigation schemes in Turkana will be able to harvest maize and sorghum by end of October 2011.
9. The ministries concerned led by the coordinating Ministry of State for Special Program are expected to move with speed to ensure these interventions reach the intended Kenyans in time in order to save lives. I wish also to assure Kenyans that the Government is committed to working closely with all relief agencies to ensure faster and coordinated delivery of relief food. 10. The Government wishes to thank all those Kenyans and corporate organization who have stepped out to save starving Kenyans. We are indeed, very encouraged by the overwhelming response and generous support extended by ordinary Kenyans and corporate players under the initiative “Kenyans for Kenya” to assist our brothers and sisters under dire need of food. Medium to Long Term Measures 11. And as we do that we are also planning and initiating programs for the longer term in order to assure food security and transform our country into a food surplus economy where people live with dignity. 12. First, this year’s budget marks a beginning of a long journey to address food insecurity once and for all. We consider access to water and sustainable ways of
harvesting rainwater need to be developed in ASAL areas to reduce reliance on water trucking, which is expensive and unsustainable. To this end, we allocated Ksh 2.4 billion for water harvesting programs countrywide, of which Ksh 1.1 billion is for arid and semi arid areas. 13. Second, school feeding programs have been enhanced to ensure that children go to school and, ultimately, with education children build resilience and grow out of food insecurity in future. This year’s budget has provided Ksh.1.7 billion for school feeding program and a further Ksh 2 billion has been approved by Cabinet, bringing the total for school feeding program to Ksh 3.7 billion. We also provided for Ksh.20,000 each for 200 secondary school going children per constituency countrywide to help household during this difficult economic time. 14. Third, we cannot overemphasize the need for irrigated food production as apposed to the current rain-fed agriculture. It is in this regard that this year’s budget provides resources to the tune of KSh 8.5 billion for implementation of ambitious irrigation program countrywide to ensure food security. i. This initiative builds on the success achieved under the Irrigation Component of the ESP where KShs.1.4 billion allocated produced a total of 318,720 bags of maize and 1,627,500 bags of rice by May, 2011 with a total value of the produce was KSh 7.2 billion. The projects cover food security in ASAL areas with good potential for irrigation particularly North Eastern and Turkana regions. Other areas covered include ASAL areas of Nyanza, South Rift and Lower Eastern. In addition, existing large schemes will be expanded. The allocation of KSh 8.5 billion will be used to irrigate 59,000 acres and prepare through designs for development of an additional 80,000 acres countrywide by the end of this financial year.
15. Four, we have also embarked on a journey to transform agriculture into serious business. We plan to support small farmer through agribusiness fund where we have set aside KShs.1 billion as funds for on-lending to agricultural production value chains. This should ensure that farmers get essential financial assistance for tools, seeds, fertilizers, and other production chain to boost agricultural production and sustain rural livelihoods. 16. Overall, relevant agencies are implementing cross-cutting policies to address challenges such as climate change, preparedness and disaster risk mitigation, and storage, production and marketing management, such as warehousing receipting and commodity trading.
17. While we recognize that our current efforts will not bear fruits immediately, there is need to seize the opportunity to remain focus on breaking the cycle of food insecurity by zealously implementing the programs we have started in this financial year. 18. Finally our neighbors in the sub-region – Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti– are also suffering from the impact of the drought and we are now bearing the brunt of thousands of Somali refugees fleeing across the border into Kenya. We will work closely with the international community to help our brothers and sisters despite the challenges we are undergoing as a country. Thank you very much and God Bless.
Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, EGH, MP DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR FINANCE 2nd August, 2011