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Drought affects trade at livestock markets

The prevailing drought has adversely affected Isiolo County’s livestock keepers who depend on sale of the animals and their products for livelihood.

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Coordinator Mr. Omar Abdi said the animals are so emaciated owing to the drought and can only fetch extremely poor prices consequently leading to huge loss on the farmers’ side.

He added that the drought situation is bad, following the failure of rains in Northern Kenya for the last five seasons and may improve if the expected October – November – December rainy season does not fail.

Abdi said that a four-year-old-bull that fetches Sh35, 000 was currently selling at Sh16, 000 due to the poor body condition following drought that has affected over 60 percent of livestock in northern Kenya.

The Coordinator added that many livestock markets in Isiolo have been closed down for lack of business since animals are so poor to attract buyers thus some have instead turned to charcoal burning as a source of income.

He said that the situation was bad and appealed to the national and county governments and development partners to chip in and alleviate the state of affairs.

Abdi said that the government has provided 225 large water storage tanks to schools, dispensaries and security camps in a bid to help people access the resource from the ongoing water trucking service and also use them for roof rain water harvesting in wet seasons.

He said that Ewaso Nyiro River flow in Laikipia, Meru, Isiolo and Samburu Counties was too little for about nine months forcing the local people to dig shallow wells in the heart of the river for survival.

Abdi added that water trucking from Habasweni to Modogashe had so far cost the government over Sh48 million in three months. He further added that Isiolo county needs Sh734,869,000 for the next three months and over 165,000 people have to purely rely on relief food.

The National government and development partners have donated 1,080 bags of beans, 600 bags of 50kg rice and 300 cartons of corned beef while high impact nutrition livestock feeds are being distributed in Merti and Sericho wards.

Abdi said that the government had also focused on de-siltation of dams and repairing broken down boreholes in effort to support herders in remote areas with a view to alleviate the severity of the drought effects.

The government led by President Dr William Ruto last week released relief food for distribution to support thousands of families that are facing hunger due to long drought in 23 Counties including Isiolo where 3.5 million people across the country are suffering.

By Abduba Mamo and David Nduro

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