3.4m face hunger in ex­pected rain fail­ure

Business Daily (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - Lynet Igad­wah lig­ad­wah@ke.na­tion­media.com

The acute short­age of food that has gripped mil­lions of Kenyans since the be­gin­ning of the year is ex­pected to per­sist in the com­ing months, a gov­ern­ment agency said yes­ter­day, cit­ing inad­e­quate rains in large parts of the coun­try.

The Na­tional Drought Man­age­ment Author­ity (NDMA) said an es­ti­mated 3.4 mil­lion Kenyans risk star­va­tion in the com­ing months and will re­quire hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance.

The agency said in a re­port that as­sessed the im­pact of the 2017 March

May long

NDMA said mil­lions will re­quire hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance

rains in arid and semi-arid (Asal) coun­ties that the fig­ure rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease on the 2.6 mil­lion iden­ti­fied by the 2016 short rains sur­vey that was re­leased in Fe­bru­ary.

Out of the 3.4 mil­lion fac­ing star­va­tion, 2.6 mil­lion are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “cri­sis” lev­els while an es­ti­mated 800,000 are in “stressed” lev­els with the like­li­hood of de­te­ri­o­rat­ing into cri­sis.

The NDMA re­port came even as the weath­er­man pre­dicted that the Oc­to­berDe­cem­ber short rains will cease at a crit­i­cal stage when the maize crop will be flow­er­ing, sig­nalling fresh food short­age.

The Kenya Metero­log­i­cal Depart­ment (KMD) re­port re­leased yes­ter­day said short rains in North Rift coun­ties are ex­pected in the sec­ond week of Oc­to­ber to the sec­ond week of De­cem­ber.

Grow­ers reckon ces­sa­tion of rains in the mid­dle of De­cem­ber will have a neg­a­tive im­pact on de­vel­op­ment of grains in the short crop, which nor­mally sup­ple­ments har­vests from the main sea­son.

Last year, the short crop planted in Oc­to­ber failed which re­sulted in a rally of flour prices with the cost of a 2 Kg packet hit­ting a record Sh153, com­pelling the gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene through a sub­sidy pro­gram that low­ered it to Sh90.

“Pro­jec­tions by KMD that short rains at Kenya’s bread bas­ket end in mid-de­cem­ber mean that the rains will stop when most crops are flow­er­ing and are at a vul­ner­a­ble stage,” said An­thony Kioko, the Ce­real Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive.

He said flow­er­ing maize crops re­quire a lot of wa­ter and that farm­ers should plan to grow drought tol­er­ant and early ma­tur­ing crops to shield them­selves.

FILE

DRY There have been inad­e­quate rains in parts of coun­try .

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