- Kenyan parliament has been urged to authorise a US$99,122 million loan to the National Cereals and Produce Board. The appeal comes amid an acute food crisis in the country, with over 10 million people facing starvation.
Last Friday, President, Mwai Kibaki appealed for US$ 400 million to tackle the emergency food crisis in Kenya where millions are likely go to bed hungry due to crop failure and 2007 political turmoil.
The acting finance minister John Michuki said the money being sourced from the US Department of Agriculture is meant for the purchase of maize and rice, further stating that the loan will be guaranteed by the Kenya government.
The government has blamed food crisis on underproduction by small scale farmers, global climate change and disruption of the main planting season following the post election crisis.
Mr Michuki said the money would be paid within a year, from the date the consignment is received, through the Kenya Commercial Bank. "If approved, the amount guaranteed by the Government would rise from the current US $513,200 million to US$600 million. The maximum amount of debt that can be guaranteed by the government is US$1 billion," Daily Nation has reported.
The Members of Parliament had however demanded a ministerial statement from the Ministry of Agriculture to address the food crisis. The statement from the Agriculture is expected by Thursday, according to local news reports.
Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa's fifth-largest corn producer, says it has sufficient corn only to last until February.
Mr Kibaki announced last week that the government has already set aside US$63.4 million, but the country needs a total of $469.5 million for its emergency needs until August.
Kenya, the East Africa's biggest economy is still recovering from the post 2007 election violence which left over a thousand people dead, while the country was one of the first to be hit by riots as a result of hikes in food prices last year.
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