NEWS 2008


Villagers warned on seeds, says official

30 April 2008

By Ngumbao Kithi

N.B. Neither the Kenyan Government nor the Press have realized that "BONI" is a derogatory term - the real name of the people affected is AWEER.

THE Ministry of Agriculture has defended its position on the supply of preserved sorghum seeds that Lamu residents turned into a meal.

Following a severe famine that has gripped the district, 350 villagers in Kanga Division were taken ill after eating the seeds that were in packets that had warning labels.

The Provincial Agricultural Officer, Ms Phoebe Odhiambo, said her ministry sent the consignment of sorghum seeds to the Boni community for planting.

She said various meetings involving the villagers and her officers were held to educate the community on the need to change their lifestyle.

The Boni are hunters and gatherers and number less than 5,000, the last population census shows.

"We did not just take sorghum seeds to the villagers without educating them on what to do," Odhiambo said.

Yesterday, Lamu DC, Mr Charles Mwathe, said several donors, including the local MP, Mr Abu Chiaba, donated 11 tonnes of food to the community after their plight was highlighted in an exclusive report in The Standard.

The donations included wheat and maize flour, tea leaves, sugar and salt.