Scramble for food, near fist fights and residents braving heavy rains characterized a food donation exercise in Thika East, a semi-arid area in Kiambu County yesterday as thousands thronged distribution centres to get a share.
Not even darkness could deter the residents from waiting in the long queues for hours with the hope that they will get some food to take home, and keep them away from starvation at least for some days.
The distribution of the relief food by the national government and spearheaded by area MP Alice Ng’ang’a targeted the elderly and the severely impoverished residents but upon getting wind of the donation, residents swarmed the venues at Magogoni, Gatuanyaga, and Munyu villages to receive the rice and beans.
Residents led by Esther Wangari said they have been going hungry since the area, being semi-arid, was among the worst hit by drought and they could not wait for such a chance to sustain them even for a day as they wait for the crops that are doing well on their farms.
“With little children to feed, the suffering we have undergone in the past four years to put food on the table is untold. We rarely get good harvests in this area due to erratic rains. We majorly depend on relief food from the government to take us through and menial jobs from the nearby Del monte pineapple farm,” Wangari said.
The residents are now upbeat that the current rains might sort their food equation as they have prepared their farms and nurtured them well enough.
“This area has received some good rains, and we hope it continues. Our farms are encouraging and we are hopeful that we will finally get enough food, as we were years ago,” said Everlyn Mwikali, another resident.
Joakim Njama, the Ngoliba Ward MCA urged the government to consider doubling the relief food allocation saying that most Kenyans especially his constituents were sleeping hungry.
MP Ng’ang’a lauded the government for the initiative and urged Kenyans to now get busy at their farms to help the country fill its food basket by taking advantage of the ongoing rains.
While calling on Kenyans to take advantage of the ongoing rains and get busy on their farms, the legislator said only agriculture would help reduce the price of basic food items.
She said if all the arable land in the country was put into agriculture, the perennial hunger that has bedeviled the country would end.
She lauded the government reducing the price of maize flour to an affordable Sh 159 insisting that with enhanced food production locally.
“If we get serious in our farms, and take advantage of the rains, nothing will stop unga from selling at Sh50. It’s a choice as a country we need to make,” said Ng’ang’a.
By Muoki Charles