Another drought, more famine. One of the early and formative conversations I had shortly after arriving to work in Kenya was with a judge who encouraged me to take note of the living conditions of the people that he saw in the pastoralist regions when he traveled to remote courts: “it is hard to believe that they are Kenyans” and yet lived in such difficult circumstances.
During the last drought in 2008-09 we had the infamous Maize Scandal, the first big new scandal for the Grand Coalition, and as yet unresolved. How will the Government of Kenya respond this time, or is this just an issue between the outside humanitarians and the locals and not worth notice in Nairobi?
Act now to mitigate drought effects, say aid agencies, IRIN
Kenya can best mitigate the devastating effects of recurrent drought by strengthening the livestock sector so that it becomes a viable money-based economy, and improving pastoral food and water security, say aid officials.
“Responding to drought has largely remained a reactive mechanism over the years,” Enrico Eminae, Action Aid Kenya’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, told IRIN. “There is also a lack of a coordinated approach by CSOs [civil society organizations] and government in addressing drought-related issues at all levels.”
According to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Secretary-General, Abbas Gullet, drought mitigation should focus on addressing vulnerability factors through activities such as dam construction and investments in irrigated farming in marginal areas.
. . . .
“The story of drought and famine is almost becoming a cliché in Kenya,” noted Damaris Mateche, environmental security analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi. “Despite the existing drought early warning systems in the country, drought disaster response mechanisms and coping strategies remain miserably wanting. More often, drought and famine situations degenerate into dire humanitarian crises before the government takes substantial action.” (emphasis added)
The Kenya goverment always not prepared, it was warned last year about the same and they ignored, now people are dying of starvation, animals dying who will rescue the people of North Eastern and North Western Kenya? In the the Riftvaley where I come from we have enough cereals but goverment has failed to purchase through the National Cereals and Produce Board. In 2009 they bought some bags at 2150 Ksh, last year (2010) they announced that they will buy maize at 1800 Khs a reduction of 350 Ksh. Most if the buying centers/cereals stores are yet open and farmers have already sold their maize at a throw away price of between 950 and 1050 Ksh to payschool feesfor their sons and daughters. Farmers not making anything out of maize farming and most of them will not plant this season. By mid next year there will be a major food crisis if no incentives are given to farmers. Fertilizers and seeds has gone up, the prices that the farmers are getting when they sell their cereals (currently) is terrible, who will continue doing same business year in year out and making huge loses?
Thanks, Hillary. This is certainly concerning. I was not aware of the extent of the problem with maize prices and would like to know more about why the Agriculture Ministry is not being more effective in this regard. I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have.
Pingback: Meanwhile, in the Kenyan hinterlands, the usual emergency starts again . . . | AFRICOMMONS Blog