By PSCU/Beth Nyaga
President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday officially launched four Government initiatives aimed at cushioning Kenyans, especially pastoralists, from the affects of severe drought.
The programs launched were the Kshs 215 million Livestock Insurance payouts which will help vulnerable pastoralists to purchase fodder and animal feed supplements to keep their animals alive upto the end of drought, the new oil-based foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccine which will protect livestock from the disease, the enhanced Livestock off-take exercise as well as the cash transfer program.
Speaking during the launch in Lodwar town, President Kenyatta expressed optimism that the Government’s drought mitigation initiatives will help improve the lives of Kenyans in Arid and Semi Arid counties.
“The Kenya Livestock Insurance Program (KLIP) – which is the first of its kind in Kenya, East Africa and Africa – will also ensure that pastoralists are able to restock even after they lose their livestock through drought,” President Kenyatta said.
The President – who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto – said the insurance program will also help curb cattle rustling and boost peace initiatives.
During the occasion, President Kenyatta presented cheques worth Kshs 43 million to beneficiaries of the Kenya Livestock Insurance Program in Turkana County.
He pointed out that the livestock insurance program will also benefit pastoralist in Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River and Wajir as part of the Government’s effort to mitigate the drought situation.
President Kenyatta also presented cheques to beneficiaries of the cash transfer program in Turkana County where Kshs 57 million was disbursed under the scaled up hunger safety net while Kshs 234 million was given out through the regular hunger safety net payment.
President Kenyatta thanked development partners, particularly the European Union and the United Kingdom, for supporting Kenya’s efforts to mitigate the drought situation.
“We appreciated the support our development partners have continued to provide and we will continue working with them to address the severe drought,” President Kenyatta said.
Deputy President Ruto applauded the livestock insurance program, noting that it will benefit 2500 families in Turkana County.
He, at the same time, observed that the new oil-based foot and mouth vaccine launched by President Kenyatta will reduce the cost of vaccination by 50 per cent, which is a major incentive to pastoralists to increase production.
“We are committed to ensuring that no part of the country is left out in our development agenda,” the Deputy President emphasized.
Local leaders including Turkana Governor Joseph Nanok, Senator John Munyes and Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro, acknowledged the national Government’s development achievements in the county and thanked President Kenyatta and his deputy for the drought mitigation programs.
Other speakers included Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett and European Union Ambassador Stefano A. Dejak.
Ambassador Dejak announced that the European Union will provide Kshs 4.7 billion in addition to the Kshs 18 billion it has already provided in support of drought mitigation programs in arid and semi arid counties.