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County government, USAID partner in drought response

Garissa County Government in collaboration with USAID have embarked on a pilot programme to distribute subsidized livestock supplementary feed to drought-hit areas across the county using a voucher model.

Speaking today after the launch of the exercise in Dadaab Sub-County, the County Director of Livestock Haret Hambe, said his office had received a total of 1,445 bags of feed pellets and distribution in the affected areas had already commenced through the identified local service providers.

The exercise targets 1,500 pastoralist households in the sub-counties of Balambala, Lagdera and Dadaab. It is meant to support pastoralists and agro-pastoralists affected by the ongoing drought.

The initiative is a Sh5 million drought response in-kind grant by USAID to the County Government. It is implemented by USAID funded Livestock Marketing Systems (LMS) in collaboration with the County Directorate of Livestock.

“We have already identified the needy households who are set to benefit from the pellets. The beneficiaries will use a voucher to acquire one bag at a cost of Sh500 from the service providers compared to the market rate of between Sh2, 300 and Sh3000,” Dr Hambe said.

The Sh500 is meant to support the various service providers – agro vets and cooperatives to distribute the pellets to acquire more stock once the current inventory is completed.

He added that the Directorate of Livestock was keen on embracing the paradigm shift Governor Nathif Jama called for in his swearing in speech where he called for the growing of hay and fodder in large mechanized farms in Fafi, Gababa and Ewaso plains, to reduce dependence on expensive commercial feeds and make the county animal feed secure.

Dr Hambe also said the Directorate in partnership with other partners like Save The Children, ICRC/KRC and SOLO were also supporting distribution of livestock feeds to drought-hit pastoralists in various parts of the county.

He said the county would continue to collaborate with more partners to provide the necessary support to livestock farmers in Garissa until the drought ceases.

John Kutwa the LMS county boss said Sh750,000 of the grant has been earmarked for cash transfers to 25 traders who sell grains around livestock markets.

This is meant to boost the capacity of these traders so they can offer a decent selection of human food for purchase by the farmers patronising the various livestock markets across the county.

Kutwa added that the in-kind grant to the County also includes water trucking to areas far from water points as well as providing collapsible water tanks to livestock markets as well as strategic animal aggregation and watering points along the grazing routes.

By Jacob Songok

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