DROUGHT PANGS

Buy our emaciated livestock, pastoralists urge government

Herders say state should cushion them against impending losses due to ravaging drought

In Summary

Hundreds of pastoralists who turned up at the Garissa livestock market to sell their animals were disappointed after no buyers showed interest

Herders with their cattle at a watering point in Garissa on Thursday September 13, 2019
COOLING OFF: Herders with their cattle at a watering point in Garissa on Thursday September 13, 2019
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

 

Pastoralists have urged the government to but their livestock as part of mitigation measures to alleviate losses caused by drought.

Cattle, goats, sheep and camels are too emaciated to fetch meaningful income through sales, they said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of pastoralists who turned up at the Garissa livestock market to sell their animals returned home with them because they were too emaciated to attract buyers.

They have asked the government to step in and buy the livestock before they die.

 

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chairman Dubat Amey said pastoralists needed cash to feed their families and pay school fees. He asked the state to form a team to conduct an assessment on livestock losses so pastoralists are compensated.

He also urged the government to buy animal feeds for pastoralists.

“Both the county and the national governments have tried to help pastoralists but that is still a drop in an ocean. We want them to inject funds as they did to miraa farmers,” Amey told reporters at the market.

He was referring to the Sh1 billion the government allocated to miraa farmers in 2016 to cushion them from shocks of the international ban of the commodity.

Amey said the government should also do an off-take programme to avert mass loss of livestock as results of drought.

He said the government should directly deal with pastoralists since Kenya Meat Commissions still owes the herders more than Sh70 million in unpaid arrears.

Muktar Mohamed Abdi, one of the pastoralists at the market said he was disappointed to make zero sales.

He had brought his goats and camels all the way from Mandera but buyers were not interested because the animals were too weak.

“I have seven children who are in school today and I am disappointed because I can’t even afford a pen since my livestock have not been sold. We are appealing to the government to help us,” Abdi said.

He said water pans have dried up while pasture was fast depleting due to drought. 

Hundreds of livestock who were visibly emaciated animals chew cud as the owners kept close watch wondering on their next move.

edited by peter obuya