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Friday, 01 August 2014

EU gives Kenya $16b grant to strengthen food security

The European Union will give Kenya Ksh1.4 billion ($16.1 million) to help improve the country’s food security that has deteriorated following the poor performance of the long rains.

The money is expected to aid 23 counties, mainly in the arid and semi arid areas dominated by pastoral communities.

The first disbursement of Ksh570 million ($6.5 million) will be made available immediately to the National Drought Management Agency to minimise the impact of drought on livestock and livelihood. The balance will be donated at a later date to strengthen other anti-drought programmes in the counties.

“Drought and the impact on food supply is a real and increasing problem for thousands living in the arid areas of Kenya. This emergency fund plans to shore up communities against incidents of reduced rain and prevent drought turning to famine,” Erik Habers, head of development at the European Union in Kenya, said.

Mr Habers said the European Union has partnered with the National Drought Management Agency since it was set up in 2011 and is keen to contribute to Kenya’s drought preparedness and management, given the fact that extreme weather patterns will be common in the future due to climate change.

The money will be channeled through the Drought Contingency Fund, established by the National Drought Management Agency. The fund is the first of its type in Africa and provides the crucial element for an effective response to an impending drought.

In the event that the food crisis worsens in the counties, the agency plans supplementary feeding, emergency vaccinations and open up unused pasture. There will also be measures in place to increase water supplies such as storage and rehabilitation of shallow wells.