Ninety-four Garissa County livestock farmers today received a total of Sh3million from the Kenya Livestock Insurance program.
Each of the farmers got Sh40, 600 to cushion them against severe effects of the on-going drought in the region.
The money is allocated by the government through the state department of livestock to 14 Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) counties to cushion farmers against huge losses in times of drought or disease outbreak.
The kitty has so far allocated more than Sh39 million to the farmers since its inception in 2016.
Addressing the press after issuing the cheques to the beneficiaries at the Agriculture Farmers Training Center (AFTC) in Garissa town, area county commissioner Boaz Cherutich said more than 250,000 livestock farmers have been affected by drought that has depleted pasture and water.
The county commissioner said that the program, which targets at least 2,000 beneficiaries guaranteed livelihoods for the farmers when their livestock are affected by natural disasters like drought and diseases. “This program is meant to reduce the risk of livestock mortality emanating from drought and illnesses. As you all know, the current drought situation in this county is not very good. There is also a need to build resilience of vulnerable pastoralists for sustainable security. This is a very good program which will support the households to buy livestock feeds and food for their families during this time,” he added
According to a report presented to the county steering committee by the county director for livestock Dr. Haret Hambe, 350, 000 cattle are already very weak due to the current drought while more than 800,000 goats and sheep have been affected by the drought too. This is a huge loss to the pastoralists in the region who entirely rely on livestock for livelihood.
The new county boss advised the farmers to save the money they got to restock their livestock after the drought.
He said the County government through the department of livestock has already identified needy households to be supported under the Agenda Four food security program that targets both crop and livestock farmers in all sub counties. He appealed to the pastoralist communities to maintain peace and share the little resources they have during this dry spell.
The Chairman of the Garissa livestock traders Dubat Amey thanked both National and County governments for the intervention measures that he said were ‘timely’.
This comes a day after residents of Lagdera Sub County appealed to the government to intervene lamenting over lack of water for domestic and their livestock.
The residents alleged that sometimes they have to fuel water trucks provided by the county government and pay the drivers night outs allowances to get water.
“I am forced to pay Sh40,000 weekly for water trucks for my 400 camels which is too much,’’ lamented Suleiman Ibrahim Sheikh.”
Sheikh said most of his livestock were very weak due to lack of water and pasture and called on the government to intervene in mitigating the situation.
By Erick Kyalo