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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kenya rejects aid of 'dog food'

Kenya has declared a national disaster because of food shortages

Kenya's government is outraged by an offer of food aid from a New Zealand dog food manufacturer to help the 4m people hit by drought.

But Christine Drummond told the BBC she could assure Kenyans that the nutritional supplement she was offering was "definitely not dog food".

It is "a high-powered food full of nutrients. It tastes yummy," she said.

The minister co-ordinating the relief effort, John Munyes, told the AFP news agency the offer was in "bad taste".

Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper that any food aid must be up to standard.

"Kenyan children are not in such shortage of food to resort to eating dog food," he said.

The founder of the company which makes Mighty Mix dog biscuits says her freeze-dried Raw Dry Nourish is "like having a big meal in a teaspoon".

"I have been formulating it for special people like in Kenya, the people who need it the most to keep strong," Ms Drummond told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

She was originally quoted in the Daily Nation as saying she wanted to send dog biscuits but when she heard how many people needed food aid, decided to send the powder.

But she said that this was a misunderstanding and her only desire had been to help malnourished children in Kenya.

She said she was also sending 42 tons of maize.

"I am offering a natural food supplement... I am donating this food out of the goodness of my heart and to try and show that New Zealand is a loving country," Ms Drummond said.

She said she sprinkles the powdered supplement on her porridge every morning.

Kenya's Director of Medical Services Dr James Nyikal said: "There is no way that the ministry can allow dog food mixture to be brought in for human consumption."

Kenya has declared a national disaster because of the food shortages, which follow poor rains across the north.



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