Counties

Kajiado bans ferrying sheep, goats to curb theft

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Kajiado County Governor Joseph Ole Lenku. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A suspected livestock theft syndicate has targetted Kajiado herders in the past year.
  • The thieves usually ferry the stolen animals to Nairobi-based livestock markets during the 10pm-dawn curfew hours to the chagrin of the local herders.
  • In a notice issued Thursday by Agriculture executive Jacqueline Koin, no live sheep or goats would be ferried out of the county during the ban.

Livestock trade is at stake in Kajiado after the county banned the transportation of sheep and goats to counter theft that has seen more than 1,000 animals stolen in the last six months.

A suspected livestock theft syndicate has targetted Kajiado herders in the past year.

The thieves usually ferry the stolen animals to Nairobi-based livestock markets during the 10pm-dawn curfew hours to the chagrin of the local herders.

In a notice issued Thursday by Agriculture executive Jacqueline Koin, no live sheep or goats would be ferried out of the county during the ban.

“All sheep and goats shall be slaughtered in Kajiado registered abattoirs and ferried as carcass.

“Only sheep and goats for rearing shall be issued with a movement permit upon producing an introduction letter from the destination area chief,” read part of the notice.

The new directives have also affected major livestock yards where stringent measures are in place to ensure theft-free livestock business.

“All big stock from the sale yards shall be moved out of the county upon issuance of the movement permit by the county animals health inspectors and validated by the area chiefs and the livestock sales yard committees,” added the notice.

Also, the movement of livestock and carcasses has been banned between 6pm and 4am.

Violation of the new directives attracts a fine of Sh50,000 or a three-month jail term.

This will affect the cross-border Kenya-Tanzania livestock trade that has flourished over the years. Traders in Kenya and Tanzania prefer the Ilbisil livestock market on Fridays.

Last month Kajiado County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha issued a shoot-to-kill order against livestock thieves, declaring the suspects as armed and dangerous.

However, the new directives will affect the multimillion Kajiado livestock trade.

Most locals are pastoralists who depend on livestock for a livelihood.

Traders ferry more than 1,000 sheep and goats from Kajiado County daily.

Some livestock traders said the new directives are draconian and costly, considering the county has few slaughterhouses.

They added that some traders fatten their livestock in their yards before slaughtering.

The entire county has 12 major abattoirs and dozen slaughter slabs.

Some are not licensed, according to National Environment Management Authority.

“Livestock business will be no more tenable in Kajiado County.

Transporting meat needs extra care and it’s expensive. We do not support livestock theft but I think the issue could be handled in a different way,” said John Karero, a livestock trader from Nairobi.

Kajiado’s livestock sector has an annual turnover of Sh3.2 billion with more than 110,000 heads of cattle sold in one year in its main markets of Ilbissil, Kimana, Emali and Shompole.

Livestock data at the county show more than 300,000 goats and sheep are sold every year in the Ilbissil and Sultan Hamud markets alone.