Action being implemented and planned by the government to mitigate the impact of the drought which has affected many parts of the country will cost Kenya’s exchequer 9.5 billion shillings (about 92 million US dollars), says Treasury Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Henry Rotich.

Both the national and county governments will be forced to review their 2016/2017 budgets in a bid to allocate more funds for drought mitigation measures, if the ongoing drought persists, he says. The government has in the meantime banned maize exports as it tries to plug the yawning deficit of eight million bags of the staple food from the 2016 harvest season.

Rotich said here Thursday that projections on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) maight have to be reviewed if food supply became strained as a result of poor rainfalls in the coming crop season.

His Agriculture Cabinet counterpart, Willy Bett, said the eight million bags of maize deficit would be covered through imports by millers and the private sector. Among other interventions is the supply of fertilizer and fast maturing seeds to farmers in regions which are expected to receive off-season rainfall which would provide sufficient moisture for the cultivation of legumes.

The government in the meantime is set to begin 2,700-shillings cash transfer programme per household every month to families in Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir and Turkana counties to enable them to buy food.

Weathermen from the region will in the coming three weeks release their regional rainfall forecasts for the March through May long rains season.

The President on Wednesday directed the government to re-align its budget to address the drought situation in the country. He also urged the county governments to come up with measures aimed at coping with the situation.