Turkana residents have every reason to smile after World Food Programme(WFP) pledged to boost food security system in a bid to alleviate food shortage and high level of malnutrition in the region.
The new WFP country director Lauren Landis who toured Turkana to assess food security in the region said they have agreed to implement a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between them and the County government signed in 2019 on sustainable food systems.
According to the latest Famine Early warning Network -Kenya (FEWSNET) the country was on the verge of a looming drought that may significantly affect food security on some country’s food security pockets.
In a meeting chaired by the Deputy Governor (DG) Peter Lotethiro, WFP agreed on a joint Food security project which will be implemented by the county government.
“We appreciate the support offered by the WFP in Turkana for transforming lives through humanitarian assistance and sustainability programmes. This agreement will help us develop value chains to make this region a food secure,” Lotethiro said.
The DG said they will ensure that the region has achieved potential food production through the government investment in order to reverse risks perennial hunger experienced in the region.
“We shall put more focus on youth innovation and encourage them to venture into agribusiness as a means to tackle high unemployment rates. We value our partnership with the WFP in developing fish production, beekeeping, poultry, fodder, sorghum and cowpeas as well as goat value chains,” he said.
Mr. Lotethiro observed that while efforts were being made to combat acute malnutrition had yielded fruits, more intervention was needed to reduce further global malnutrition rate that currently stands at 26.5 per cent.
WFP Director, however, said that WFP was committed to combat malnutrition levels in the region.
“We urge the county government to move beyond subsistence farming to commercial food production and further venture into strengthening private sector involvement,” Landis said.
Mrs. Landis assured the DG that though WFP had shifted its focus to sustainability projects, the organization will still engage in its core work of disaster response.
She promised to support the development of the Disaster Risk Management policy and its implementation even after the County Assembly ratifies it.
“WFP has also contributed to the development of the County ECDE policy and bill, built capacity of the ECDE feeding programme and supplied 240 energy-saving stoves to select centres.”
County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, Philip Aemun acknowledged WFP support of county extension services, the revival of 45 irrigation schemes through flood-proofing existing irrigation infrastructure.