[3rd February 2009]

APPEAL FOR FOOD AID TO KENYA

Here is the full text by H.E. President Mwai Kibaki on his food aid appeal to our friends and development partners:-

“INTERNATIONAL APPEAL FOR FOOD RELIEF BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. MWAI KIBAKI, C.G.H., M.P. PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA ON 16TH JANUARY, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I make our request to you as the Government of Kenya, I wish to briefly outline the situation we are facing.

GENESIS OF THE PROBLEM

The current food emergency arises from several causes. The primary cause is the severe drought we are currently facing, including the failure of the short-rains throughout most of the country and the cumulative effects of four consecutive poor rain seasons in the last two years.

The most affected areas are the marginal agricultural and agro-pastoral regions as well as parts of the Central Highlands. Together, these prolonged droughts have resulted in a shortfall of 10 million bags, from 33 million bags to 23 million bags in the current season. The Strategic Grain Reserves have also reduced from 4 million bags to the current level of below 700,000 bags.

At the same time, other non-drought causes have contributed to the current situation. For instance, the post-election violence we faced earlier last year severely disrupted the planting season in many parts of the Rift Valley, the country’s breadbasket.

The global energy crisis resulted in our producers facing high fertilizer prices, which in turn led to lower levels of use. The global food crisis led to high commodity prices, which made imported grains very expensive. The economy also faced high inflation, driven mainly by the effects of the post election events, the international food crisis, and the oil crisis. Overall average inflation for 2008 was 26.2 percent compared to 9.8 percent in 2007. Food prices rose by 35.3 percent while energy prices increased by 21.5 percent. Other household expenses also grew by between 6 and 10 percent last year, with the lower income groups being the most affected.

As a result of all these factors, the prices of maize and maize products as well as other foods that form the staple foods of most Kenyans have risen sharply in the past one year, and adversely affected most Kenyans. The poorest Kenyans have fared the worst in this situation, facing not only food scarcity, but also water and pasture scarcity, and declining health conditions for children and the elderly. The most affected areas that require emergency support are the marginal agricultural districts of lower Eastern (Ukambani), Coast, and Central provinces. Other areas that are adversely affected include the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Rift Valley, Eastern, and North Eastern provinces.

We are also deeply concerned by the deteriorating food security of the urban and peri-urban poor households, who are likely to be adversely affected by the declining economic activity, and reduced income and employment opportunites, as a result of the worsening global financial and economic crisis.

Our national assessment is that 10 million people are food insecure and require emergency support. These people will not be able to meet their minimum food requirements between now and the end of August, 2009 without emergency measures. Currently, the government and World Food Programme are feeding 1.4 million people under the emergency operation programme. Another 1 million people are also fed through direct Government interventions. However, these ongoing programmes cannot absorb the sharp increase in numbers of needy people requiring relief food without additional resources. It is our assessment that the food security situation will worsen unless immediate actions are taken to deal with the emergency, and medium and longer-term interventions identified to mitigate against future recurrence of this type of situation.

With regard to the medium term interventions, in the coming planting season that begins in a few weeks from now, the Government will make available about 93,000 metric tones of fertilizer at affordable prices, and reduce the price of seed by 10 percent. We will also make arrangements to provide affordable mechanical ploughing services in areas that are suitable through our revived agricultural machinery services. Indeed our farmers remain our best hope for food self-sufficiency. I assure them that my government has taken the necessary steps to ensure that farming is a rewarding venture.

MEASURES TAKEN SO FAR

Let me now outline the emergency measures the Government has taken, and the assistance we shall require from our partners. To begin with, my Government has with effect from today, declared the famine situation in the country a National disaster. I now direct all arms of the Government to mobilize the resources and coordinate their efforts in responding adequately. In order to deal with the food security crisis, my Government has so far made arrangements to import 7 million bags of maize at an estimated cost of 17 billion shillings. This maize will be sold in the market to lower and stabilize food prices for the majority of Kenyans.

With regard to emergency relief food, my Government has set aside 3 billion shillings for the procurement of additional relief food supplies and 1 billion shillings for related non-food emergency interventions. Another 1.2 billion shillings has been allocated for the provision of water, purchase of livestock and supply of hay in the arid and semi-arid areas. However, analysis from the multi-sectoral technical working group of the Kenya Food Security Steering Group indicates that we shall require 37 billion shillings to meet all the needs of the current food emergency.

This amount is broken down into the following components:

At the moment, my Government has set aside 5.2 billion shillings of the 37 billiion shillings that are required to meet the emergency. I am therefore appealing to all our friends and development partners to assist us in meeting the shortfall of 32 billion shillings that will be needed to ensure the needs of 10 million Kenyans are met until the end of August, this year.

I wish to thank all of you for the manner you have responded to past appeals by the Government for emergency support in the face of a national disaster. I am sure that we will see the same positive response on this occasion. I only urge that our friends and development partners respond in a timely and urgent manner, because the emergency is with us now.

Thank you and God bless you.”

Back to the top