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4 million bags in grain reserves enough to fight hunger, CS Wamalwa

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has allayed fears of hunger in the country saying there was enough food in the National Strategic Grain Reserves (NSGR) to fight current famine.
Speaking at Nginyang’ in Baringo County during a food distribution exercise, the CS said the NSGR has four million bags which is enough to alleviate hunger that has affected 12 counties across the country.
“The food in our national grain reserves will assist us until we are out of this drought situation,” said the CS.
The CS added that the government has set aside Sh2 billion to ensure that Kenyans do not suffer from the drought scourge as well as Sh3.5 million to National Drought Management Authority for water trucking to the water stressed parts of the county.
He said the country harvested over 40 million bags of maize and as such, people should not die of hunger.
“In addition, the government has released Sh12 billion for the cash transfer programme that goes to the severely disabled, the elderly and the orphans and we hope recipients will use the monies to fend for themselves,” confirmed Wamalwa.
Alongside other leaders, Wamalwa said climate change is real and the country has to shift from rain fed to irrigation based agriculture to be food secure.
“In future, we are not going to be distributing relief food in this area because Baringo has the capacity to produce enough food. We are going to do mega dams that will support irrigation farming in this county,” said Wamalwa.
On his part, Baringo County Deputy Governor Mr. Jacob Chepkwony also allayed fears of drought in the county saying the situation had not reached the alarming stage, but was in late alert stage.
He said the County Government’s capacity to tackle the situation has been overstretched after distributing over 1, 000 bags of grains in the last four months.
“It’s not all areas of Baringo but some specific parts which are affected by the current drought situation. We are calling on the national government to assist in combating the situation,” said Mr. Chepkwony.
The DG added that they have partnered with World Food Program in a program that will see over 4, 500 vulnerable households benefit from a Sh5, 000 monthly cash transfer that will also go a long way in alleviating the hunger situation.
“We have already done mapping and targeting. By next month, we are going to start giving the 4, 500 identified households Sh5, 000 every month,” said the Deputy Governor.
Speaking also during the distribution of food aid, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi said there was drought due to delayed rains, and that the government has two strategies with the county government being the first line of defense while the national government comes second.
Meanwhile, there was a heated debate between the local politicians and a government multi-agency team over the severity of the drought and whether it had caused deaths as reported in the sections of the media.
The MCAs drawn from the area put up a spirited fight saying they were being intimidated by government security agencies when reporting deaths due to drought.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mwongo Chimwenga basing on the multi agency report said that no death related to drought situation had been reported in Baringo.
“If you media people want to push that narrative, we cannot prevent you from doing so but facts will remain the same. It’s true we can be transferred at some point but as long as we are here, we will do our job as it is required of us,” said Chimwenga.
During the exercise, over 1, 000 bags of maize and beans were distributed with the county government offering 170 bags as the national government availed 700 bags of the grains.
By Christopher Kiprop

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