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CS Miano affirms improved food security situation

The Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Ministry of East Africa Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) and Regional Development Ms. Rebecca Miano has released the report on findings of an assessment conducted in 2023 in arid and semi-arid (ASAL) Counties.

Speaking to the press at Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority (ENSDA) headquarters offices in Narok, Miano said the population facing acute food insecurity has dropped from 4.4 million in February to 2.8 million to date which is a projection she termed positive.

Miano said there is a huge improvement that is attributed to the good performance of the March to May 2023 long rains, which saw most parts of the Country receive above-average rainfall, leading to improved production and productivity.

The CS also said the nutrition situation in the ASALs has also improved across most Counties, with an estimated 945,610 children aged 6 months to 59 months requiring management of acute malnutrition, down from 970,214 reported in February 2023.

The CS also said expectant mothers and children below the age of five have been the most affected in Turkana, Samburu, Laisamis in Marsabit, Wajir and Isiolo, an issue that the government is handling through urgent emergency measures currently.

“Some 144,940 pregnant and lactating women require treatment for acute malnutrition, up from 142,179 reported in February,” said Miano.

Miano added that there is improved nutrition that is mainly attributed to the scale-up of responses delivered to address immediate and underlying malnutrition causes as well as improved food security situation, including availability of milk and food stocks resulting from the good performance of the long rains in several Counties.

The CS said the foregoing notwithstanding, malnutrition levels have remained high in most arid Counties due to the cumulative negative effects of the prolonged drought.

She said that Turkana County remains a hotspot, with an ‘Extremely Critical’ situation in Turkana South. “However, gradual improvement of the nutrition situation is expected due to improving the food security situation in the Country,” she said.

The assessment has identified priority response interventions for scale-up in various sectors from August 2023 to January 2024 at an estimated cost of Sh. 33.29 billion.

The interventions are in the areas of Food security and resilient livelihoods; Agriculture; Water and sanitation; Livestock; Health and nutrition; Education; Child protection; and Peace and security.

By John Kaleke

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