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US ambassador opens Sh50 million livestock market in Isiolo

By Ali Abdi | October 19th 2015

James Njuguna from Dagoreti in Nairobi bought 100 goats worth Sh500,000 at Oldonyiro, Isiolo’s newest and most modern multi-purpose market.

Mr Njuguna is among dozens of traders who thronged the market that was opened on Tuesday by US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec. The market built at a cost of Sh50 million was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAid).

According to Isiolo County Executive Committee Member for Livestock Patrick Lesengei, local pastoralists sold stock worth more than Sh10 million in less than six hours. The buyers came from Nairobi and surrounding counties in Mt Kenya region, notably Nyeri, Laikipia, Kirinyaga Murang’a, and Meru.

The locals also bought fresh farm produce and other general provision goods brought in from neighbouring Nanyuki town.

The livestock section has yards that include holding grounds for goats and sheep, cattle and camels. It also incorporates 22 stalls and stalls for general provision goods and office building to host county revenue post and the market’s management committee. The stalls are rented to locals.

Mr Godec said the US government through USAid and its partners like Regal-AG will assist the county government to set up a modern market in Isiolo town and four other smaller markets at Skot (Garba-Tula), Duse in Kinna, Kipsing and Merti.

‘’In addition to this market, the US Government is also supporting the construction of another major market in Isiolo town and four other smaller markets that will be completed in the next few months,’’ said the envoy.

Godec disclosed that the investment, supported by President Barack Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative, is part of the larger Sh35 billion US government investment to build resilience among communities living in arid and semi arid lands (Asal).

Other development projects undertaken by the US government include food security, education, healthcare, agriculture and environmental conservation.
Regal-AG has a budget of Sh 2 billion ($20 million) to undertake development activities in ASAL counties over a five-year period that began in August 2012 and ends in August 2017.

Isiolo Governor Godana Doyo thanked the US for the support saying smaller counties like Isiolo, which receives less in development funds from the Treasury due to its sparse population, needed external donor support to make positive economic progress.

"We get Sh 2.6 billion from the National Treasury annually because the factor used is based on population. This is a county that had been locked out of all spheres of development in the past and this good gesture from the American people is a major boost for us,’’ said Mr Doyo.

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