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December 14, 2018

Kajiado pastoralists lost 232,400 cows, Sh13.9 billion to drought - Lenku

An animal that died in Baringo county as a result of the drought in February 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO
An animal that died in Baringo county as a result of the drought in February 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

A task force looking into the effects of drought in Kajiado has reported that 232,400 cows died, leading to a loss of Sh13.9 billion.

Most of them died while searching for grass, Moses ole Narok, who is a member of the task force and the county's Agriculture executive reported on Friday.

The deaths resulted in a loss of Sh13,944,000,000, Ole Narok said and placed the average cost of each animal at Sh60,000.

Read: Pastoralists trade cows for hardy goats, sheep

More on this: State releases Sh3.8bn to fight hunger until April

The combined cost of interventions was Sh78 million, inclusive of human feed supplements, drugs, hay and transportation of water to hard-hit areas in Kajiado West.

This amount did not include figures spent on fuel subsidies for boreholes during the drought period.

On Friday, Centre for Minority Rights Development and pastoralists community representatives held a press conference in Kajiado town after a three-day seminar on droughts and shocks associated with climate change.

The representatives of NGOs and community-based organisations noted the need for counties to fast-track the issuance of county adaptation funds to cushion pastoralists during droughts.

The NGOs and CBOs in attendance included Project concern international, Neighbourhood Initiative Association, Friends of Pastoralists, Nasaru Women, Dupoto E Maa and Kenya Livestock Marketing Council.

While reading a statement at the end of the seminar, Juliana Nasaru said pastoralists are at a critical state in their lives and are unsure of how they and their livelihoods will evolve in light of climate change.

“Relying on mobility, pastoralists follow their essential but fleeting resources such as pasture and water to make ends meet. They depend on scarce resources that are slowly being depleted by climate change and national projects,” Nasaru noted.

She said lack of harmonious policies and commitment by the national and county governments, to protect indigenous communities and their critical resources, exposes them to peril.

Pastoralists who occupy arid and semi-arid lands suffer disproportionately, Nasaru said, adding that with ongoing droughts, they must move to areas with plenty of rainfall and vegetation.

“The increased probability of droughts that occur once every three years has the potential to decrease herd sizes due to increased mortality and poorer reproductive performance of the livestock,” the statement said.

It added that Kenya has seen more frequent cycles of droughts, increasing the need for support to improve the resilience levels of pastoralists to anticipat. 

This is so they can absorb and recover from the effects of climate change shocks.

The convener of the seminar, Nyangori Ohenjo, said there has been a noticeable increase in the need for programmes, policy and development actions that will increase resilience levels.

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