Herders get 1,000 camels in county restocking bid

The county government of Samburu has distributed 1,000 camels to herders to help them restock after their livestock was wiped out during the prolonged drought.

Speaking at Ngilai and Archers Post where he distributed the animals, area governor Lati Lelelit said he sympathised with the herders after they lost their livelihood.

Life in Samburu revolves around livestock. Other than providing them with food, the animals have cultural significance.

Unfortunately, the prolonged drought resulted in the loss of nearly 90 per cent of their livestock, leaving families destitute and desperate.

Lati said that other than drought, the herders have also lost their animals to bandits who raid their villages, confining them to poverty.

“Our people were left without any source of livelihood after the prolonged drought and raids by bandits. As a government, we made a decision to cushion them by providing the camels,” he said.

Herders in Samburu East received 400 camels while their counterparts in Samburu North constituency got 600 camels.

The governor said the two constituencies were the worst hit by drought, "yet this is where 95 per cent of the population depended entirely on livestock keeping".

Lati said his administration’s main objectiveis to cushion the residents against the effects of drought and help families restock, even as he promised to consider giving out cattle, goats or camels next year.

“In our next financial year, families will have to choose whether they want cows, goats or camels, even as we seek to promote food security and better nutrition,” he said.

He added: “Under the restocking plan, we will consider giving those living in urban centers poultry to enable them get eggs and meat for sale while supplementing their diet."

He challenged the locals to start kitchen gardens, saying the government was ready to give them seeds.

Area senator Steve Lelegwe termed the restocking programme was the right thing to do at this moment saying; "Even the law allows counties to cushion their people against calamities such as drought."

Woman Rep Pauline Lenguris asked the county to introduce alternative sources of livelihood for the pastoral community.