Kenya to declare national emergency over food crisis

January 9th, 2009 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Jan 9 (Xinhua) The Kenyan government plans to declare a national emergency over the prevailing drought and famine situation in the country that has rendered nearly ten million people food insecure.The ten million include 1.5 million children under the school feeding programme, 2.5 million people suffering from various diseases including HIV/AIDS and orphans and another 2.5 million under the category of urban poor.

A statement from President Mwai Kibaki’s office issued after a Food Security Committee meeting Friday said that the country should begin the process of importing an additional five million bags of maize (a bag weighs 90 kg) to cater for an expected shortfall of maize.

An inter-ministerial committee has also been set up to immediately start working out the modality of executing the National Emergency that will entail taking extra-ordinary measures to get food to the people.

President Kibaki told the food security committee that the entire government must focus on the urgency of providing food to all Kenyans after the rains failed in the last two seasons and agricultural production was reduced.

The strategies adopted by the government to ensure sufficient food supply include duty free import of maize and efforts to boost maize production by increasing availability of fertilizers.

The government has authorized import of five million bags of maize duty free to meet the maize deficit in the country and procured 15,000 tonnes of fertilizer which is being sold to farmers at a subsidized price.

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