Arid and Semi-Arid Lands lose 50 per cent of livestock to drought


Robert Arionotuk, one of the pastoralists whose livestock died due to the drought, tends to his goats at Attan village in Ngare Mara, Isiolo County. [Nanjinia Wamuswa, Standard]

Twenty-three counties from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) have lost over 50 per cent of their livestock to drought since last year.

Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana and Laikipia are the hardest hit with fears that the situation could get worse in the coming days.

This came as the Council of Governors called on the national government to intervene by assisting the affected counties with livestock feed to save the remaining animals.

According to the council, the drought situation was getting worse with the education sector also feeling the pinch as parents relocated with their families in search of pasture.

This emerged when the CoG met officials from the national government, NGOs, and other partners in Naivasha to address the current situation and mitigation measures.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba noted that all the ASAL counties were suffering from suppressed pastures and hence the deaths of the livestock. He praised the national government for dispatching relief food to affected counties but was quick to note that more needed to be done to save humans and livestock.

“Currently, the ASAL counties have lost over 50 percent of their livestock to the ongoing drought and we are calling for more support from the national government,” he said.

The governor said that the meeting had proposed the formation of a livestock marketing authority to cushion pastoralists during dry seasons while seeking a market for the animals.

Roba, who heads the ASALs and disaster management committee in COG, said that many families had been affected by the loss of their livestock.

He added that mitigations measures put in place by respective counties had seen cases of water tracking reduced.

He attributed the harsh weather conditions to climate change as he called for a stimulus programme to support affected pastoralists.

“We are calling for more funding to the national drought management authority in a bid to address challenges brought about by climate change,” he said.

The PS for Livestock Hillary Kimutai admitted that the drought had affected pastoralists and the government had chipped in. “We are still consulting with county governments and we have put in place urgent measures,” he said.