Kenya has received the largest food relief ever from foreign countries for more than 4.5 million hunger-stricken citizens.
The government on Wednesday received the first batch of relief food worth Sh2 billion from the Chinese government at the Port of Mombasa.
The food is expected to be distributed to different regions of the country, starting this week.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi and other government officials received the first batch of 500 tonnes of the food from the Chinese ambassador Liu Guangyuan.
Mr Liu said the food includes rice, wheat, beans, maize flour and cooking oil.
“The first and the second batch of the food donation has been off-loaded at the port while the third and fourth cargo departed China for Kenya late last month.
“We expect the last two consignments valued at Sh1.5 billion to depart China any time from now,” the ambassador said.
Mr Liu noted that the aid was a result of the current acute food shortage due to inadequate rains.
He said the Chinese government was also planning to implement long-term agricultural programmes to boost food production in Kenya and other parts of Africa.
“Apart from providing food assistance, the Chinese government is keeping an eye on the drought situation in the Horn of Africa and will also sink boreholes and supply medicines in areas hardest hit,” Mr Liu said.
Mr Musyoka said it was important for the country to adopt mechanised and irrigation agriculture.
“We have large tracts of land unploughed, and if we apply modern agricultural practices, we shall have adequate food and even surplus to export,” Mr Musyoka said.
Ms Murugi said that the food would be transported to Nairobi by rail to cut costs.
A committee had been constituted to ensure the food is evenly distributed, the Special Programmes Minister said.
“Apart from supplying the food in North Eastern region, several other areas like Kinango and Ganze in Coast Province and parts of Eastern Province are also in dire need of food,” she said.