The residents of Adu ward in Kilifi County have called on the National Drought Response Steering Committee empower them to produce their own food and stop them from relying on relief supplies.
They lamented that although the area had great potential for food production, it had perennially relied on relief food supplies because of lack of water arising from unreliable rains that has caused crop failure for the last five seasons.
In a memorandum read on their behalf by Joseph Mangi, a form three student at Adu Secondary School, the residents said for the area to be food secure, there was need for the construction of dams and water pans, sinking of boreholes and extension of water pipelines.
“We humbly request for the following as lasting solutions: Drilling at least two boreholes at Kadzandani to boost the existing water supply, construction of water pans in every sub location, rehabilitation of the Adu borehole and frequent checkup of water supply lines,” they said.
They were speaking at the Adu trading centre in Magarini constituency where the committee distributed foodstuffs to 2860 households donated by the Equity Bank Group to the residents of Adu location.
Local leaders who spoke during the function presided over by the ASALs and Regional Development Principal Secretary Idris Dokota and Equity Group Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said there was need for locals to be empowered to produce their own food.
The leaders, who included Magarini Member of Parliament Harrison Garama Kombe and Adu Ward Representative Samson Zia among others said most parts of Magarini constituency had good arable soils but lacked water.
Acting Kilifi County Commissioner Geoffrey Tanui said chiefs and their assistants would start registering farmers in January 2023 to enable them benefit from the subsidized fertilizer for use during the impending long rains season in March.
National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Chief Executive Officer Lt Col (Rtd) Hared Hassan said the relief food distribution being done by the steering committee was a short-term measure and that there were plans to find lasting by empowering communities to produce their own food.
“It is better to empower people to fish instead of giving them fish. We as NDMA in consultation with my PS will sit down and look what the young man said in them memorandum and see if we can give you one or two dams to address the water shortage in this area,” he said.
The Secretary to the National Drought Response Steering Committee, Mr. Murimi Murage, also said the committee would look into the memorandum with a view to setting aside funds for the provision of water.
Dokota said the Kenya Kwanza administration’s agenda was to fight famine by increasing food production, adding that that was why the government was subsidizing fertilizer.
Kilifi County Governor Gideon Mung’aro said his administration would sink boreholes along the Galana/Sabaki River to provide water for irrigation away with a view to boosting food production.
“From mid-January, we shall tour areas along the river Sabaki with a view to identifying areas we can sink boreholes so that farmers do not have to farm near the river which is prone to flooding that causes the destruction of crops,” he said.
Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi said the steering committee would support the governor to ensure water for domestic use and irrigation is available in order to permanently address the famine problem in the county.
By Emmanuel Masha