The government will distribute 100,000 bags of rice to the Muslim community across the country for their Eid celebrations to be held later this week.
Special Programmes PS Josephita Mukobe said on Wednesday the donation was part of 450,000 bags of rice donated by the Chinese government to Kenya.
Mukobe explained that 55,000 bags of the first batch of 100,000 bags received in Mombasa on Tuesday will be distributed to the Muslim community residing in coastal area while the rest was transported to Nairobi through the standard gauge railway.
She explained that the rice will be transported by trucks to various destinations across the country specifically to feed the Muslims, who are fasting so that by the time of Idd celebrations they will have enough to feed on.
The distribution will commence immediately, and as you can see, our trucks are already waiting. We will not even take the food to our stores, but will embark on distribution without delay, said Mukobe, when receiving 45,000 bags of rice at Kenya ports Authority, Embakasi depot in Nairobi.
About 3.5 million people in the country have been affected by the drought situation in the country, especially those in ASAL area that are in need of food assistance, Mukobe added.
She added that the remaining batches of the 450,000 bags consignment will be received in the country by end of the week, mid July and August, when the last batch will arrive in country. It will be later distributed in the 127 ASAL sub counties.
Commending the Chinese government for the donation, Mukobe explained that the drought situation in Kenya has been unique especially with rains and vegetation decreasing below normal levels thus affecting the economy of the region.
The effects of the prolonged drought has almost wiped out livestock feeds and affected milk production thus contributing to skyrocketing prices of basic food commodities.
The ASAL communities are also grappling with contaminated water, low crop production and education sector equally affected as children have dropped out of school.
Government and other partners have committed resources to tame the impact of drought. However, the consequences of the drought will continue to be felt for a long time and for this reason, there is an urgent need for relief food assistance, she said.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Nairobi, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Liu Xianfa, said the consignment of rice is part of the 450,000 bags that Beijing pledged as food aid to Kenya following the prolonged drought.
China has been sympathetic to the food shortage situation in Kenya that was occasioned by weather situation which has not been promising agriculturally. The Chinese people have always stood side by side with Kenyans and will always come to their aid when the need arises, Liu said.
The delivery is part of the 21,366 metric tonnes of food aid worth Sh2.25 billion that will be distributed to support 1.4 million drought affected communities for the next one month.
I am happy to see the first three batches of rice in Nairobi through the SGR, Ambassador Liu said, adding that just last week they had donated Sh500 million worth of 9,000 metric tonnes of maize and sorghum to go to the refugees in Kakuma.
Source: Kenya News Agency