Four Mount Kenya counties have been listed among 22 regions whose residents are on the brink of starvation.
On the Friday, May 20, Gazette Notice, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Meru and Nyeri counties were listed among 22 counties whose residents have been affected by the severe drought that has hit parts of the country.
Other counties include Tana River, Kwale, Lamu, Kilifi, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Laikipia, Narok and Kajiado.
The Mount Kenya region is one of the richest agricultural zones in the country and plays a critical role in securing Kenya’s food basket. However, inadequate rains and prolonged dry season has seen the residents stare at hunger and a possible acute starvation if the conditions do not improve.
In the Gazette Notice, the government – through the Ministry of Public Service Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes – has constituted committees to help come up with urgent plans to mitigate the effects of drought in the 22 counties.
“The Public Finance Management (National Drought Emergency Fund) Regulations, 2021, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, appoints members of the County Drought Committee of the respective Counties, for a period of three (3) years,” the notice read in part.
At the same time, the government has allowed the importation of duty-free maize to a tune of 540,000 metric tonnes to help address the shortage in the country and fight hunger in the listed counties.
“With provisions of Item 20 Part B of the Fifth Schedule to the Act and in consequence of the notification of an impending maize crisis in the country by the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Co-operatives, a Waiver of Import Duty has been granted for the importation of not more than 540,000 metric tonnes of white nongenetically-modified organism (non-GMO) maize grain,” read the notice by Treasury CS, Ukur Yatani.
In the notice, the government stated that the waiver of import duty shall apply to white non-GMO maize imported into Kenya on or before August 6, 2022, and each consignment thereof shall comply with certain conditions.
Here are the conditions importers must comply with:
(a) The imported maize shall not be genetically modified (non-GMO) in accordance with the laws of Kenya and Kenyan standards applicable under the laws of Kenya and implemented by the National Biosafety Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards.
(b) The imported maize shall have a moisture content not exceeding 13.5% as provided for under the laws of Kenya and Kenyan Standards (KS EAS2:2017) applicable under the laws of Kenya and implemented by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
(c) Aflatoxin levels in each consignment of maize shall not exceed ten (10) parts per billion (ppb) as provided for under the laws of Kenya and Kenyan Standards (KS EAS2:2017) implemented by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Department of Public Health of the Ministry of Health.
(d) The imported maize shall be accompanied by a certificate of conformity issued by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
(e) The maize shall have been imported on or before 6th August 2022.
(f) The imported maize shall meet all other legal requirements under the relevant laws of Kenya.