State, counties roll out plans to cut losses

Livestock PS Dr Andrew Tuimur. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG
Livestock PS Dr Andrew Tuimur. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG 

The national government and counties have rolled out joint initiatives to help mitigate losses for livestock farmers, hard-hit by the recent frequent of cycles of drought.

The national government has for example set aside Sh538 million, through the annual livestock off-take programme, to purchase cattle from farmers affected by drought this year while Marsabit County has approved Sh250 million for the same exercise.

Other measures include enrolling farmers for insurance covers, which offer compensation once there is a trigger on vegetation or water failure in a given region.

Livestock principal secretary Andrew Tuimur said the money will be used in purchasing livestock from pastoralists in drought- stricken areas that the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has declared as having reached the alarm stage.

The livestock will then be transported to the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) for slaughter before they succumb to drought.

Marsabit is one of the counties that have been identified by the National Drought Management Authority as being at the alarm stage and requires urgent funds to address the looming catastrophe.

Marsabit governor Mohamud Mohamed says they had a crisis meeting last month where they approved the funds to ease the effects of drought on residents.

The governor said they have already mobilised water bowsers and are currently supplying water to the residents.

Last month, Red Cross started a campaign to raise Sh1 billion to feed 3.4 million Kenyans faced with hunger across the country.

NDMA chief executive officer James Oduor said they need Sh3.8 billion between now and April to curb the looming hunger.

“We need to move fast to tame the current situation before it gets worse as some of the counties have already crossed to the alarming stage,” said Mr Oduor in an interview. 

Livestock farmers from seven counties were last month paid Sh175 million in compensation claims to purchase fodder and secure water for their livestock to avert deaths following depressed short rains last year.

The insurance payout by TAKAFUL, under the Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme, will benefit 9,700 pastoralists.