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Uproar as cartels edge out local farmers in Kimalel goat auction

By Vincent Mabatuk | Published Wed, December 21st 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 20th 2016 at 22:59 GMT +3
A farmer untie his goats after he was turned away with his goats during Baringo Goat Auction and Cultural Festival at Kimalel, Baringo County on December 17,2016.PHOTO:KIPSANG JOSEPH

Some farmers are crying foul after animals sold at Kimalel goat auction were allegedly sourced from livestock traders.

Investigations by The Standard established that genuine peasant farmers were allegedly replaced by livestock traders and protected cartels.

Unlike when the local administration would collect goats from villages and transported days before the auction for extensive health inspection, animals are brought in lorries even from outside the county by unscrupulous traders disguised as farmers.

“Remember the Head of State and other senior Government officials buy these goats and it is time the auction is taken seriously or suspended until its properly regulated,” said Aron Yatich, a Marigat resident.

LIVING STANDARDS

The project was started by retired President Moi in 1986 and was aimed at improving the living standards of Baringo County residents.

The project, which was supposed to turn around the economy of the semi-arid area, whose mainstay is livestock keeping, collapsed when Mr Moi left office in 2002.

A source familiar with goats’ sourcing revealed that majority of the animals sold by Deputy President William Ruto in a record 30 minutes for Sh28 million came from various livestock markets in Tiaty.

“These were purely cartels making the supplies and not farmers as required and county officials played a role,” said the source.

On Friday, more than 20 farmers were left stranded alongside their 626 goats after Ruto, who was the chief guest, declared the auction closed.

“Only 616 goats remain, this is for me and the President,” said Ruto, who paid Sh7,392,000 in cash.

The farmers from Baringo North, Baringo South and Saimo Kipsaraman said they were told by the county government that they had reached the maximum target for the goats that were needed in the auction.

Joseph Kipteroi, a farmer whose goats were not accepted in the auction, said they made losses, having had transported the goats from their homes to the auction.

The frustrated farmers said they felt wasted, saying their aim was to get school fees for their children come January.

Some of the farmers whose goats were never let into the auction yard are Noah Chebon, Richard Kelwon, Tom Losoite, Dorcas Kangor, Evans Kiplagat, Tom Losoite and James Kipsang.

Marigat MCA Nanga Bowen said politicians paid millions for the goats after the farmers’ plight was published in local dailies.

In 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, several farmers had their goats taken on credit by politicians.

“I wonder why leaders refuse to pay their debts on time yet they splash cash on expensive choppers every weekend during political campaigns,” Nelson Lotela, an MCA, said.

In July, Emining MCA Geoffrey Chelal brought a motion before the House pushing for payment of the affected farmers.

At that time, it emerged that Baringo North MP William Cheptumo had just paid his Sh700,000 debt for 2014 and 2015 auctions.