As the surest illustration of the effects of prolonged drought across the country, thousands of Thika residents in Kiambu County braved a heavy downpour to receive relief food donated by the national government.
The exercise that began on Monday afternoon saw women, men and the youth make long queues to receive rice and beans which the government has been providing to cushion Kenyans from the biting drought that continues to ravage the citizenry.
Not even when darkness hit semi-arid Magogoni, Gatuanyaga and Munyu villages where Thika MP Alice Ng’ang’a spearheaded the exercise moved the hungry residents from the long queues.
Distribution of the relief food targeted the elderly and the severely impoverished residents but upon getting wind of the donation, residents swarmed the venues demanding a share saying they are at risk of starvation.
In their statements, residents attributed their struggle with food insecurity to four successive failed rain seasons that have denied them harvests since 2019.
The food, they said, will help them survive for a few days even as they look forward to bumper harvests having planted enough crops on their farms.
Led by Esther Wangari and Esther Wanjiru who acclaimed the government for remembering them, the residents expressed optimism that their planted farms will soon sort their food equation having struggled for years now without hope.
“We have received rice and beans. Although it’s not much, we believe it will go a long way in helping us fight the vagaries of hunger even as we await harvest as God has blessed us with rains,” Wanjiru said.
Ngoliba Ward MCA Joakim Njama who spoke to journalists at Magogoni village urged the government to consider doubling the relief food allocation saying that most Kenyans especially his constituents were sleeping hungry.
“This area receives very little rainfall and as a result, we do not harvest as much. For the last three years, it’s been a struggle after another after rains failed and this explains why you have seen thousands come out to receive relief food. The government should double the allocation set for relief food to keep most Kenyans going,” he said.
On her part, MP Ng’ang’a lauded the government for the initiative and urged Kenyans to now get busy at their farms to help the country fill its food basket by taking advantage of the ongoing rains.
“It is time we all get dirty on our farms and plant as much. Those living within plots should also embrace new farming methods. Let us maximumly take advantage of the rains God has blessed us with to ensure Kenya is food safe,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker thanked the government for moving to reduce the prices for basic food commodities including maize flour to an affordable Sh 159 insisting that with enhanced food production locally, the prices could lower up to Sh 120 by September when most Kenyans will be harvesting.
“We are also urging our opponents in the Azimio team to rally their supporters to go back to their farms and plant instead of moving them to the streets. This way, we will be able to feed ourselves as a nation without having to necessarily import food,” she stated.