Baringo County will next week revive the goat auction made famous during retired President Daniel arap Moi’s regime when who-was-who in the public and private sector competed in making the highest bids.
The Kimalel Goat Auction, which started in 1986 but went quiet in 2002, will be revived as the Kimalel Culture Fair and Goat Auction as the county seeks to enhance its tourist offerings.
“Communities will showcase their dances and other traditional customs. This will be a way of creating job opportunities for unemployed youths,” Baringo governor Benjamin Cheboi said after ground-breaking at the auction site.
Communities living in Baringo — Turgen, Endrois, Ilchamus, Pokots, Turkanas and Kikuyus — are putting up traditional huts next to Kimalel Primary School where they will display their traditional artifacts, attires, cuisine and dances.
The trade fair, scheduled for between December 19 and 21, will be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta with Mr Moi among the guests. The fair is expected to diversify tourist attractions in the county which already boasts Lake Bogoria National Park, Lake Baringo, hot springs and flamingoes.
Mr Cheboi said that before the cultural fair, there will be road races, music competition and boat races where winners will be rewarded. The goat auction used to attract hundreds of visitors mainly political leaders, senior government officials and heads of state corporations.
At least 2,000 goats would be sold in the annual auction with proceeds going to pay school fees for needy children. The event gained popularity because of the goats’ unique meat which does not require salting to taste nice.
Even today Koriema Trading Centre, which is next to Kimalel Primary School, is famous for the tasty goat meat that butcheries sell.
People from as far as Nairobi pass through the centre over weekends to buy the meat. Mr Cheboi said that farmers will be paid for goats sold on the same day. Livestock farmers said the revival of the goat market would help raise incomes.
“Since the collapse of the auction we have been left at the mercy of unscrupulous businessmen who buy our goats at throw away prices and make a kill in other towns,” said Mr James Chebii, a livestock farmer.
Jackson Songol, 50, recalls earning Sh200,000 after selling 50 goats at the last auction in 2002.