Monsanto Company has pledged $ 400,000 (KES 40 million) towards the worst drought that has hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years, severely affecting the lives of over 14 million people.
The donation has been made to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), to help them meet the needs of those affected by the disaster.
Mr. Kinyua M’Mbijjewe, Monsanto’s Corporate Affairs Lead in Africa, said $150,000 of the donation will be targeted towards immediate food and critical relief aid, while $250,000 will go towards supporting communities get back on their feet over the longer term, growing food thru irrigation.
“The immediate need is to ensure that affected families have adequate food, so part of the contributed funds will help provide emergency food relief. In the long term, Monsanto’s donation will support the Kenya Red Cross’ efforts towards irrigated agriculture in the drought prone areas of northern Kenya,” said M’Mbijjewe.
Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General, Mr. Abbas Gullet said it was unacceptable for communities to continue relying on food aid in this day and age, noting that the KRCS long term goal was to empower communities through skills and technology to enable them to produce food.
“It is through the contributions of partners such as Monsanto that the Kenya Red Cross is able to mobilise resources for emergency interventions as well as for investment in medium to long term initiatives,” said Gullet.
Mr. Gullet emphasized the need for robust adaptation and mitigation measures to deal with the devastating effects of climate change that is affecting livelihoods of millions of ordinary people in Africa.
Monsanto believes that in its position as a global leader in agriculture, it could initiate corporate response towards building food security for vulnerable communities in the region through partnerships, investment and application of technology. This would catalyze other long term public private partnerships in the region and significantly contribute to sustainable food security.
Monsanto Fund has in the past supported school and community vegetable gardens in South Africa, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Malawi. Hundreds of thousands of people – especially children, regularly have vegetables in their daily diet due to grants made to development organisations who then install small drip irrigation kits, provide quality seed and train communities and school children in agronomy, nutrition and hygiene. The long term proposal is to build on this successful model.
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