The Ijara Member of Parliament (MP), Sophia Abdi Noor has called on the newly formed Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Board Chaired by Jane Karuku to extend assistance to the rural population.
The Board formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta is meant to foster the national response to the pandemic that has slowed down most of the world economies.
“The principal objective of the fund shall be to mobilize resources for emergency response towards containing the spread, effects, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Head of State outlined.
Speaking to KNA on phone on Saturday, Sophia said that the rural population, equally affected by the economic meltdown due to Codid-19 restrictions are likely to be forgotten if concerted measures are not put in place.
The MP said that in North Eastern region the prices of livestock that 90 percent of the rural population rely on, have drastically dropped.
“When you visit the livestock markets in Garissa County and across the region you realize that the prices have drastically dropped. This is directly linked to this virus. This definitely affects the population since they are making loses which directly affects their livelihoods,” Sophia said.
The MP said where a family used to sell two goats and buy food rations that would sustain them for a week, has since changed and they are now forced to sell double the number of animals for the same purpose.
She said that the only way to support such families was to either provide food rations or subsidize prices of the animals.
“By the time we are through with this pandemic, most of the families will have been virtually left with little or nothing to support themselves. It will be disastrous,” she said.
The MP further said that miraa traders, majority of them women, who provide for the families have equally been affected as the prices of khat have also dropped.
According to a Miraa trader based in Garissa town, the ban on transportation and sale of the commodity has worked against them since most of their customers are shying away from buying.
However, Sophia appealed to Kenyans to follow the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“While we endeavor to do our best to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, I urge the people of Ijara and Kenyans at large to observe the safety and precautionary measures set by the government through the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of the virus,” she added.
Speaking separately, the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council Chair, Dubat Amey, who confirmed the reduction of prices of the animals urged the National Government to come up with ways of cushioning the farmers.
He reiterated his earlier call to governors of North Eastern region to create a special kitty to cushion both the livestock and irrigation farmers against the adverse effects of the global pandemic.
“Most of the farmers may not recover unless they are assisted to get back on their feet. The economic effects of coronavirus are evident. By the time the disease is managed our farmers will be out of business,” Amey said.
By Jacob Songok