Treasury put on the spot over drought funds

Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe said out of the Sh10.4 billion that had been requested for among other activities, buying 1.3 million bags of maize from farmers to stock up the strategic food reserve, only Sh1.5 billion had been provided.

Appearing before the Agriculture Committee, Mr Lesiyampe said the ministry had been paralysed by the Ntional Treasury’s apparent lack of funds, and was yet to release Sh1 billion requested to purchase the maize from farmers.

The National Treasury was on Tuesday put on the spot for providing only a fraction of funds that had been requested by the Ministry of Agriculture for the ongoing drought.

“The government is not going to increase the price of maize as is being demanded by the farmers since the 1.3 million bags will last for the next three to five months, when we expect the rains will have come and there will be harvests expected,” he said.

Mr Lesiyampe said the National Treasury had been informed beforehand of the impending drought but took no measures to ensure the funds were available.

The committee further heard that the National Treasury was also yet to release Sh3.4 billion for purchasing subsidised fertiliser, which the Agriculture ministry was requesting in the supplementary budget.

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