A United Nations agency head has advised the government to train small scale farmers in innovative agriculture to prevent drought.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) outgoing president Kanayo F. Nwanze said most people in developing countries, especially those living in rural areas, are affected by drought because they lack funding to venture into innovative farming ideas.

“As a scientist, I cannot overemphasize how important scientific research is in contributing to increased food security.

“We have to continue to invest in agricultural research for development if we want to meet the Sustainable Development Goals devoted to ending poverty and hunger by 2030,” Mr Nwanze said.

Currently, 23 counties are affected by drought caused by poor rainfall, forcing the government to declare it a national disaster.

They include Kwale, Taita Taveta, Lamu, Kilifi, Tana River, Baringo, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Turkana, Baringo,Wajir, West Pokot and Tharaka-Nithi.

Nairobi residents are also experiencing rationing following a decrease of water in Ndakaini dam, which is expected to be solved by the onset of rains.

Nonetheless, on Friday the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the government will spend Sh21 billion to fight the disaster.

Already, Sh5.2 billion was spent in the first phase of the programme, Sh7.1 billion to last from this month to April has been set aside, and another Sh8.7 to run from May until September has been secured.

“The government is on top of things and it is still in control of the drought situation. We will ensure nobody dies of hunger or sleeps hungry,” Mr Kiunjuri said in Kiawara, Nyeri County, where he donated relief food.

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To boost agriculture, Ifad and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) signed a partnership that will see new climate-smart technologies and innovations developed by CIAT available to smallholder farmers participating in Ifad-supported projects in developing countries.

The partnership will also see various agricultural funded projects rolled across the world.

CIAT Director-General Ruben Echeverria said: “Like Ifad, CIAT understands that small-scale agriculture, especially in tropical areas, must become more robust, resilient, efficient and sustainable, so that it can meet the growing demand for food and resources, while offering profitable pathways out of poverty.”

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