Last week, the World Food Program (WFP) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya initiated a cash transfer relief food program for 61,000 food insecure residents in Makueni county.
The Protracted Relief and Recovery Program (PRRO) which according to the head of Nairobi WFP Satellite Office, Christine Omondi will kick of in May, 2015 has however received opposition from residents with a majority castigating the national government for the initiative.
The program, created a heated debate on social media and the residents led by the Governor Professor Kivutha Kibwana took to Facebook to question the sustainability of the three – year program in a country that achieved independence half a century ago. The residents in their comments argued that relief food, locally referred to as ‘Mwolyo’ is not only unsustainable but also humiliating.
Former regimes were also accused of deliberately ignoring the lower eastern region for selfish gains while politicians were also accused using the relief food as a campaigning tool for ascending in power.
The county government was also on the receiving end, especially now that agriculture and water dockets are devolved with some questioning what measures that the county government had put in place to increase food security for the two years.
But its the county government’s recently launched initiative to construct shallow water pans at every household to enhance food productivity,that drew both praise and condemnation in equal measure.
Those opposed to the water pans argued that just like the relief food, the project was unsustainable and suggested for mega water projects which can harvest enough water for both domestic and irrigation use.
In the end, the residents were challenged to engage in public participation to initiate sustainable development
From the comments, one cannot fail to realize the residents resolve to eradicate dependence on relief food and with the onus squarely on the county government. It will be upon the county government to explore all options available, off course with the support of the residents to solve the perennial food insecurity in the county.