President William Ruto has moved to remove bottlenecks that have in the past slowed down efforts to deal with drought in the country.
From now on, the President said all efforts of drought coordination related issues would be handled in the Office of the Deputy President to ensure efficiency.
He said there was a need for development partners to work closely with the county and national government in ensuring proper coordination in addressing matters pertaining to drought.
Speaking at State House, Nairobi, on Wednesday, during a meeting of Kenya Drought Humanitarian Partner Response Update, Dr Ruto said there was need for structured programs in coordinating efforts to contain drought to ensure efficiency and avert duplication of duties.
The partnership comprises international Non-Governmental Organisations, National Non-Governmental Organisations, United Nations Entities and Kenya Red Cross Society.
“As Government, I want to assure our development partners that we have put in place measures aimed at ensuring proper coordination efforts to target the deserving cases,” said Dr Ruto.
He added:”We are ready to do what is possible to ensure the drought situation is contained,”.
The Head of State said among the measures the Government was taking to contain famine included; harvesting of water for irrigation purposes, increasing acreage of food production through the provision of subsidised seeds and fertilizers as well as planting trees as a way of mitigating the effects of climate change.
He urged the private sector to consider helping in construction of dams in arid and semi arid areas to provide water for domestic and irrigation purposes.
“I take this opportunity to ask our development partners to consider assisting in the construction of dams besides supporting our efforts in planting more trees to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Dr Ruto.
Dr Ruto praised the Cash Transfer Program, saying despite the challenges,it has greatly helped uplift the lives of needy families.
He said the program was immediate, targeted, transparent, cheaper and more dignified.
“The only challenge is that we can have the money but there is no food to buy. That’s why we must ensure our farmers are encouraged to produce enough food for local consumption and for sale,” he said.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said he has instructions from the President to lead coordination efforts to contain drought that has hit thousands of people in some parts of the country.
“It’s through proper coordination efforts that we can address challenges related to drought and famine,” said Mr Gachagua.
USAID Mission Director David Gosney said his organisation would work closely with the Government and other development partners in containing famine in the region.
“This drought issues have come as a result of climate change. We must work towards long-term solutions to these problems,” said Mr Gosney.
EU Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger said the situation of famine in the country was much better compared to that in Djibouti and Somalia.
“We must not only look for a quick solution to this problem but a lasting one,” she said.
Other development partners who addressed the function including Britain Ambassador to Kenya Jane Mariott praised the Cash Transfer program, noting that it targeted the most deserving cases in the society.
“The cash transfer programs have greatly helped transform the lives of many needy cases in rural areas,” she said.
Present were Cabinet Secretaries Ukur Yatani (Treasury), James Macharia (Transport) and Margaret Kobia (Public Service).