Kenya needs one billion dollars to address food crisis

NAIROBI, June 30, 2008 (AFP) – Kenya needs 72 billion shillings (1.1 billion dollars or 708 million euros) in emergency funding to counter a food crisis that has helped drive inflation to over 30 percent, an official said. “We urgently need the funds in the next three months to address immediate needs and mitigate the current food crisis,” said Agriculture Minister William Ruto.

He spoke after holding talks with four other ministers responsible for livestock, fisheries, co-operatives and water and irrigation in the Rift Valley town of Naivasha.

The funds will be used to support the agricultural sector by buying farmers free fertilisers, creating credit lines and assisting the fish and livestock sectors.

The ministers agreed to establish an Agricultural Development Fund which will recieve an annual allocation of 4.5 percent of the national budget in a bid to cushion the country from future shortages.

Earlier in June, three UN agencies said they would grant Kenya 7.6 billion shillings to help farmers and boost the school feeding programme.

Home to 35 million people, Kenya is currently in the midst of a food shortage worsened by months of post-election violence that killed 1,500 people and displaced h