The State Department of Livestock is seeking Sh670 million for livestock offtake programme in the arid areas to avert deaths of animals as parts of the country have started experiencing drought.
The Ministry of Agriculture says pasture and browse condition in the arid zones is generally poor or depleted with worsening trend compared to fair in the normal situations.
This is attributed to poor performance of the long rains season which led to minimal regeneration of pasture and browse. In parts of Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River, Wajir, Turkana, Kilifi, Kitui and Laikipia, the forage situation is poor and is projected to last within one to three months.
“SDL has submitted drought interventions budget (Aug-Oct 2021 period) of Sh670 million and awaiting release of funds by the National Treasury,” said the Ministry of Agriculture in the latest food security monitoring report.
The ministry has recommended commercial livestock offtake purchase and location of animals, issuing of supplementary feeds where possible, promotion of fodder and pasture establishment and conservation as well as livestock disease surveillance to curb the effects of drought.
Outlook for the October-November-December (OND) 2021 short rains season indicates that most parts of the country are likely to experience depressed rainfall. However, isolated incidents of storms that could cause flash floods are still likely to occur despite the expected depressed rains.
Analysis of the rainfall performance for the past seasons — March-April-May and June-July-August — indicates that most parts of the country especially the eastern and northern Kenya experienced rainfall deficit.
The forecasted depressed rainfall for October-November-December indicates a likelihood of drought conditions that may worsen as the period progresses over most of the arid and semi-arid regions of northern and eastern Kenya.
“The food security and nutrition situation in most parts of the arid and semi- arid (ASALs) areas in the northern and eastern parts of Kenya is likely to deteriorate,” said the ministry.
The drought agency has already warned that milk and meat production from pastoral counties is expected to drop following the decline of pasture occasioned by poor rainfall.
National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said the state of pasture and browse in most of the arid and semi-arid counties was generally fair to poor condition with Isiolo, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River, Laikipia and Kitui reporting poor fodder condition.