Information, Communications and The Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo has launched food distribution in Nyanza region targeting more than 60,000 homesteads in Nyatike Constituency of Migori County alone.
The move is meant to cushion residents from hunger pangs, Mr Owalo said today while flagging off the food consignment at Wath Ong’er market in Nyatike South Sub County.
He explained that the government had set agenda of economic development meant to address agricultural production, mining, and the fishing sector in the Lake basin region.
The Sub County was allocated a total of 1680 bags of rice and beans that will serve an estimated population of 60,000 in Nyatike South and the larger Nyatike Constituency.
Mr Owalo said that the economic development blueprint once implemented will address food shortages and provide a long-lasting solution to the troubled cotton, rice, and sugar sectors in the Nyanza region.
He said already county governments have signed a county-based economic charter to address the problems affecting the sugar, cotton, mining, and fishing sectors.
The CS said that the mining sector in Nyatike should be well managed to ensure revenue generated is channelled back to help the society.
“We need to ensure that the county and national government work together to ensure appropriate revenue collection from mining, agriculture, and fishing sectors benefit the local residents,” noted Owalo.
He said that the food distribution in the county was a short-term plan to address the hunger but assured that the government was in the forefront of addressing the food shortage.
The area Deputy Governor Joseph Mahiri said that the partnership between the county and the national governments was key in addressing food shortage and drought in the county.
He urged the national government and the Kenya National Irrigation Authority (NIA) to move with speed and compensate the remaining farmers for the benefit of the Lower Kuja Rice Irrigation Scheme expansion.
Dr Mahiri also called upon the national government in collaboration with Migori County to help the community utilise the lake victoria waters for irrigation purposes.
He said that it was unethical for the lake region residents to suffer hunger yet they had a natural water resource that is not being utilised.
The area County Commissioner Meru Mwangi said it was important for the county to utilise Lake Victoria waters for irrigation and help address food shortage and hunger.
Mr Mwangi said the fishing industry should be boosted to ensure that the county is able to provide for the locals as well as have supplies for export.
Migori County is among the 29 counties that have been affected by severe drought, especially in Nyatike Sub County.
However, the drought situation in the Sub County is not at an alarming stage as compared to other hard-hit counties in Northern Kenya.
Nyatike Sub County which is categorised as a semi-arid area has been receiving low rains in recent years.
This year the region has seen the drought situation worsen sending chills among residents and farmers in the entire Migori County.
The worsening drought in the Sub-county has also affected most of the existing ponds leading to the death of fish due to lack of water.
By Geoffrey Makokha and George Agimba