NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has set aside 13 million U.S.
dollars for a livestock offtake program aimed at mitigating the
effects of the ongoing drought, an official said Wednesday.
Vice Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Andrew
Tuimur told journalists that the government is prioritizing the
purchase of animals in drought-hit areas in order to cushion
farmers from losses.
"Already 6 million dollars has been used to purchase
livestock from farmers in the drought-hit areas," Tuimur said,
adding nother 6.5 million dollars will be spent next week for
The official said that animal herders have been one of the
biggest causalities of the drought.
Farmers of key export crops such as tea are also being
affected by the lack of rainfall that has led to water rationing
in many urban centers.
The drought which began last year has affected 23 counties so
Humanitarian organizations estimate that at least 1.5 million
people are in need of food aid.
The government will slaughter the animals purchased and use
them to feed the locals.
The livestock offtake program is part of the measures
instituted to mitigate the effects of the drought. Others
include a program to supply food to schools which will in turn
reduce fees for students.
Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government will
distribute relief food to schools in arid and semi-arid counties
to ensure learning is not affected by the drought.
"As national government we are taking this issue to
Parliament requesting them to realign the budget and allocate
funds to purchase food for Kenyans affected by drought," he said
on Wednesday in Kitui, eastern Kenya, when he flagged off a
convoy of water boozers and trucks loaded with relief food and
hay for livestock to be sent to affected families.
Kenyatta said the government will scale down funds for some
of its development projects as part of its measures to enhance
The East African nation is facing a prolonged drought, which
experts have warned could further worsen the food insecurity.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in a
report early this month that the food security situation will
continue to worsen over the next few months due to failure of
the short rains.
"The short rains season was too brief and too weak to have
any meaningful impact on recovery.
For counties where both the long rains and the short rains
were below normal, conditions are already very poor," the agency
said in its early warning bulletin.