UN, Kenya sign deal to support drought response

Nairobi, March 16, 2017 (TNE): The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Kenya have signed a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) agreement that will provide immediate assistance for drought affected pastoral and agro pastoral households in the country.

FAO Representative in Kenya, Gabriel Rugalema, told journalists in Nairobi that under the deal, approximately 2,000 smallholder agropastoralists’ households would receive emergency support that would improve their access to water.

“We plan to install 30 community water tanks in the northern counties of Isiolo and Marsabit to enable 10,000 livestock breeding stock to receive vital water supplies,” Rugalema said.

In addition, FAO will deliver 294.2 tonnes of animal feed and 196 tonnes of high-fibre ranch cubes to 545 smallholder pastoralist and agropastoralist households in the drought affected Marsabit, Kwale and Isiolo counties.

“These counties will benefit from emergency distribution of bales of hay and high fibre ranch cubes to feed up to a total of 65,450 animal breeding stock for two months until pasture are fully regenerated in June,” the FAO Representative said.

On Feb. 10, Kenya declared the ongoing drought a national disaster with approximately three million people affected.

The northern and coastal areas of Kenya are currently facing widespread drought due to the poor performance of the October, December 2016 short rains which followed an already long dry season and erratic, below average main season long rains in march-May 2016.

Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett, said that the government had set aside 263 million U.S. dollars to respond to the humanitarian needs in drought affected areas.

“The three-phase plan has committed 159 million dollars for phases one and two of this, 30.6 million dollars is dedicated to livestock response,” Bett said.

In addition, the government has paid out insurance to 11,000 households, totalling two million dollars.

The CS noted that in spite of the considerable commitment, the ministry of agriculture livestock estimates there is still a gap of 126 million dollars owing to rising needs in the livestock sector. (TNE)

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