Herders in Meru County have a reason to smile after the government issued 2,240 bags of animal feeds to be distributed to herders in Kiirua, Muriri, Laare, and Kangeta areas.
Speaking during the flagging off of lorries carrying the feeds, outgoing Public Service, Youth, and Gender Cabinet Secretary Professor Margaret Kobia said President William directed all the ministries dealing with drought response to ensure that the 29 counties experiencing severe droughts have received food relief as well as water and animal feeds.
She added that at the moment, most of the relief food has been released to the said counties.
In particular, she added, the relief food has already been disbursed to Igembe, Tigania and Buuri sub-counties and those remaining especially in Meru Central and North Imenti will receive their share soon.
“The severe drought is affecting livestock, and school children leading to absenteeism and raising the cost of living. That’s the reason the national government working together with the county governments has agreed to provide relief food to the affected people,” said Professor Kobia.
She said the president appreciates what the county governments are doing in terms of responding to the drought by availing food to the affected people adding that more food will be released to the affected regions by the national government in the near future.
At the same time, she said that the government is exploring the possibility of bringing on board business people and other well-wishers to contribute food to the needy rather than having to wait for food to come all the way from Nairobi.
“I want to thank all the non-governmental organizations including Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), Red Cross, and many others who are also supporting the government in feeding the affected people,” said Professor Kobia.
She said the severe drought is really a huge challenge and called for responses from other stakeholders since government alone cannot respond to everyone.
She added: “However, what is important is how we mitigate the resilience so that moving forward we have more irrigation farming that can sustain Kenyans even when there are effects of climate change.”
“The government is working closely with NGOs and research institutions to find ways of building resilience among the people struggling to get food on the table,” she said.
She noted that in absence of pasture, livestock feeds with high nutritional value need to be distributed to farmers with weakening livestock.
Governor Kawira Mwangaza appreciated the gesture by the national government adding that the feeds will go a long way in saving the animals that were suffering due to lack of pasture.
She said the respective sub county steering committees will determine the deserving animal owners who were in dire need of the feeds.
The county government also received 200 and 100 bags of rice and beans respectively which will be distributed to informal settlements within Meru town which include Mjini, Majengo, and Shauri.
Ms. Mwangaza added that the county committee in charge of relief food will decide the amount to be distributed in each area on a need basis.
“As the county government of Meru, we want to promise the national government and our partners that we will do our best to ensure that the relief food reaches the needy people,” said Ms. Mwangaza.
She appealed to the national government to consider Meru County in the allocation of more relief food adding that the number of needy people was increasing with the persistence of the drought.
By Dickson Mwiti