Russia has donated cooking oil worth Sh112.2 million to Kenya through the World Food Programme (WFP).
The cooking oil adds to cereals and pulses that are part of in-kind food packages WFP is distributing to Kenyan families in arid and semi-arid regions to combat biting drought.
Drought has ravaged parts of the country for months due to delayed October and November rains.
President Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought a national disaster in September, setting the stage for fund-raising, food donations and other support for affected communities.
“This contribution is very timely for Kenyan families grappling with acute food shortages in a country facing the prospect of a third successive failed rainy season.
This year, because of the drought, we are providing support to families in our resilience programme for 10 months, instead of 8,” said Lauren Landis, WFP’s Kenya Country Director.
The government estimates that 2.5 million Kenyans require urgent food support.
Of these, a proportion are deemed as being in the emergency phase.
“An estimated 368,000 people in some of the worst affected counties are in the ‘emergency’ phase of food insecurity (IPC 4), which is one step away from a catastrophe or famine-like conditions,” said State Department for Development of ASAL Principal Secretary Micah Powon.
The donation also comes as the price of cooking oil has significantly shot up over the past year due to imported inflation over the global rise in palm oil prices.
The commodity retailed at about Sh160 per litre last year but has shot up to over Sh280 for the same quantity, exerting additional financial pressure on families in buying the product.
Cooking oil is one of 330 factors used to track inflation with a given weight of 1.15 percent, underlining its importance on gauging the cost of living.