Government to use sh600 million to buy livestock from Mandera pastoralists

Pastoralists water their animals at a borehole in Takaba, Mandera County. A ravaging drought has left most local livestock keepers vulnerable without pastures and water. [PHOTO: MURIMI MWANGI/STANDARD]

The government will use Sh600 million through the Kenya Meat Commission to buy animals from pastoralist communities in Mandera, National Assembly Agriculture, Livestock and Co-operatives committee chair Adan Mohamed Noor has said.

The Mandera North legislator urged residents to sell off some of their livestock that were starting to feel the effects of drought as the region experienced its worst drought in five years due to delayed rainfall.

Noor was flanking Mandera Governor Ali Roba on a tour of the county to assess the drought situation where the county chief announced contingency plans to prevent pastoralist communities from being ravaged by drought.

Livestock keeping is the lifeline of communities in North and North Eastern Kenya but their livelihood is now under threat.

"The drought response program is already underway, we have already distributed food and are assessing the situation to see what more can be done", Roba said.

He said that starting next week 35, 000 bales of fodder would be supplied to communities in phase one of the project to offer support.

Roba was speaking in Takaba in Mandera West constituency yesterday where he stated that the county government would double the number of water boosters in the area to increase access to water for people and animals.

The national government has already declared drought a state of emergency in the most affected counties.

The governor said that communities were now moving to less affected areas of Wajir. The most affected are women and children.

The county has already donated relief food to the most drought ravaged areas in all the six sub counties.
In Mandera West Sub County, the county government has provided 1794 bags of rice, 897 bags of beans and cooking oil.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Livestock and Agriculture will also insure livestock in the county through a pilot project launched in six semi-arid counties last year.

Mandera North MP Noor said the project had been expanded to include Mandera and Samburu and Garissa.

The project kicked off in the previous year as a pilot project in Wajir, Marsabit and Turkana counties.
"The government will cater for livestock in 2000 homesteads. However, individuals who can afford the insurance can pay to take up the cover", Noor said.

The cover will shield livestock owners from losses incurred through death or loss of animals even as Roba said that his government would veterinary support.

With the support of the World Bank, the county government has completed a vaccination drive for over 700, 000 livestock in the county.

The residents had complained that their animal were at risk of dying due to diseases.