Thursday, August 17, 2017
   
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Inter-governmental meeting on food crisis situation in the country

Food crisis meetingIn view of the current food crisis in Kenya, the Council of Governors and the National Government convened an urgent meeting at Delta Towers.
The Council of Governors was led by the Chairman H.E. Josphat Nanok H.E Okoth Obado Chairman of the Agriculture Committee Council of Governors, H.E Ahmed Abdullahi Governor Wajir County H.E Wycliff Oparanya Governor Kakamega County,

County Executive Committee Members (CECs), Chief Officers and County Directors in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries from the 47 Counties. The Count Governments met the Cabinet Secretary Mr.Willy Bett and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries officials from the Ministry of Agriculture to jointly develop strategic interventions against the food crisis situation.
The Chairman, Council of Governors H.E Josphat Nanok noted the need for strategic and long-term solutions to the food crisis. In his remarks, he noted the need to strengthen the early warning – early action systems in order to achieve long term solutions to the food situation crisis. “The shortage of cereals is a problem that should have been anticipated earlier. We should not be able to go through this in future,” he said.
In his remarks, The CS Willy Bett affirmed the National Government's commitment to working with County governments to develop a joint strategy to avert future food crises. He further affirmed that there is a strategy being developed which will allow County Governments to manage small scale irrigation schemes within counties whilst the National Government manages the mega irrigation schemes. He also informed the meeting that plans are already underway. He also reported that the to map out logistics for maize consignments which have been imported to ensure there is no delay upon arrival at the port and to facilitate seamless transportation and distribution of the consignments, he stated that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will open other points in addition to the grain berths in order to fast track offloading of the expected consignments.
The Fall Armyworm invasion was also noted as one of the serious threats to food security. Incidences of the pest infestation have been reported in more than 25 counties posing serious challenges to the Country vision of achieving food accessibility and availability. It was reported during the meeting that the County Governments and National Government have secured 230 Million from the National Contingency funds kitty which will be used to fund the control measures against the pest. In order to counter the spread, County Governments have developed mitigation measures to contain the pest infestation. Some of the strategic interventions developed includes awareness creation, capacity building of Extension Service Providers, pest surveillance and monitoring, execution of control operations, strengthening early warning-early action systems, monitoring and scouting of pests, use of mechanical and cultural control methods.
During the meeting, the National Government agreed to waive import duty on other commodities such as rice and wheat in order to cushion consumers against high market prices witnessed recently .The meeting also noted the need for consumers to be encouraged to diversify their consumption from Ugali which has been the traditional staple in most Kenyan households In order to stem the escalating food crisis and food shortages witnessed across the Counties.
The meeting agreed to adopt unified and holistic strategies. In order to curb the menace, County Governments agreed to request for emergency fund from the Contingency funds kitty which will be used in supporting the affected areas. It was also agreed that the National Government should entrench in the Crops Bill, a policy that protects farming areas from encroachment. Further, the meeting agreed on the need to strengthen research and adaptation trials for production of new varieties and clones. The meeting also noted that the sector allocation still remains a challenge to achieving food security and therefore the meeting agreed that both levels of government should increase their budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector since it is the mainstay of Kenya's economy.

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