• Failure attributed to lack of budget to plan the annual events on time
• Dr Bore says huge county budget went to Covid-19 control.
Baringo county has suspended this year’s annual Kimalel goat auction and the Kabarnet Agricultural Society of Kenya show because of Covid-19.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries chief officer Winnie Bore regretted the decision but said it was done in the best interest of residents.
“Unfortunately, as a department, we had no money to budget since a huge sum of county funds went to control of the Covid-19,” Bore said on Wednesday.
The auction and ASK events have been held in December and September respectively since the advent of devolution in 2013.
On Tuesday, the Star published a story of farmers calling upon the county government to tell whether the auction would take place this year.
“We would want to know whether we should still wait for the auction or go sell our animals elsewhere,” Elijah Kandagor of Marigat said.
However, Dr Bore cited lack of funds and added that they were already time-barred. He said they opted for an online auction "but we found it really costly because it means also purchasing expensive new technology gadgets.”
Bore, therefore, urged farmers and residents to bear with them as they do proper planning ahead of next year’s auction.
The events were introduced in the county by former President Mzee Daniel Moi in the 1980s with aim of changing people’s lives.
Kimalel Auction, however, stalled upon his retirement in 2002. It was later revived by the former Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi in December 2014.
“The goat’s pricing in Kimalel is good. It really assisted me to pay my children's school fees and buy my family foodstuff,” Kandogor said.
Due to instant closure of the market this year, the farmers will have to resort to local butcheries and restaurants to sell their goats.
Last year there was a tremendous drop in the number of goats sold in Kimalel auction at 2,000 compared to 2,600 in 2018. Sh20 million was collected, relatively a drop by Sh6 million compared to Sh26 million in 2018. Each goat sold at Sh10,000 compared to 12,000 the previous year.
The goats were being sold in cash after a directive by Deputy President William Ruto in 2018, following media highlight of outstanding debts.
Last year, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok presided over the auction. He stood in for Ruto, the chief guest, who was away in Uganda.