Agriculture CS Peter Munya while appearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday, February 26, disclosed that the government would support farmers who have been affected by the locust plight.
The CS who was in the spotlight in February 2020 over his rhetoric statement that locusts were ageing and would die, however, argued that the money was not compensation to the families.
“I already explained the measures we have in store for supporting the farmers, their livelihood and the communities. We are deploying teams to contain the locusts next week. Our development partners are supporting the deployment. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is undertaking a procurement to assemble the experts who will carry out an assessment of the damage.
A resident of Kijaci at Gatunga Ward in Tharaka Constituency, Tharaka-Nithi County, makes his way through a swarm of locusts at a farm on February 1, 2020.
“Once that report is finalised, parts of the resources that we are being supported with and part of the budget that is available will be deployed to support those families that have been affected to restore them to their original position as they restart their livelihoods. On that, I want to assure you.
The CS then elaborated his reasons as to why he did not classify the package as a compensation, analysing it from a legal perspective.
“And I don’t want to call it compensation. Compensation is a bit negative and small word which has a legal connotation implying that I have to damage first before compensating. If so, then the locusts would compensate you,” Munya stated in a light note, cracking the audience into laughter.
According to Munya, the support would come in terms of the government availing seeds for future cultivation, and money for the families to purchase food amid the escalating disaster.
The CS further expressed confidence that the government would contain the locusts, which have spread to over 18 counties.
“We are not facing a plague of locust. FAO has described it as an upsurge. Of course, it has caused damage but we can be able to contain it,” Munya affirmed.
On Tuesday, February 25, Microsoft founder Bill Gates joined the fight against swarms of locusts ravaging parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates donated $10 million (Ksh1 billion) to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support ongoing efforts by Kenyan, Ethiopian and Somalia governments in dealing with the locusts.