National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) with support from the European Union has flagged off a consignment of animal feeds to pastoralists in Mandera to curb livestock deaths in the ongoing drought.
The livestock feeds are to sustain the targeted animals over a period of about two weeks in a vast Mandera County.
Speaking after flagging off the consignment of 8,500 bags in Takaba and Elwak Sub Counties of Mandera County, Mandera County NDMA Director, Hussein Alio, confirmed that animals have grown weak in body condition
He said an acute shortage of fodder has led to a lack of milk and lower animal prices and loss of income as more of the animals die from starvation.
A similar trend is seen amongst the owners ultimately leading to inability to buy food, skipping meals, poverty and severe malnutrition though government has responded through different interventions by availing emergency relief food to the most affected areas.
Hussein urged local administrators to consider the vulnerable in distribution of these animals feeds.
“Let’s consider widows, the elderly and the disabled when distributing feeds. They are the most vulnerable in our society,” said Hussein.
Takaba Deputy County Commissioner, Wycliffe Munada, assured residents that the distribution will be done fairly and the most affected areas will be given priority.
He urged locals not to sell the feeds and instead give to their emaciated livestock because the nutritious feeds will boost their livestock body mass.
“Am requesting you not to sell these feeds. The feeds are from Government of Kenya and are given for free” said Munada.
Munada added that Government, through Kenya Meat Commission, will buy the weak and emaciated livestock from pastoralists following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration that drought is a National Disaster.
He confirmed that all the vulnerable households have been receiving assistance from government through the cash transfer programme.
Pastoralists in Mandera North Sub County have moved to the neighboring Ethiopia following downpours in Ethiopia.
Banisa ,Kutulo and Elwak are some of the most affected areas in Mandera County.
NDMA is also supporting pastoralists in the area by repairing boreholes as well as providing fuel to ensure availability of water in these hard times.
Livestock production constitutes the backbone of the economy in North Eastern Region and is the main source of livelihood for the population, and so both rapid feed provision and improved water access is likely to save animal lives and sustain production.
In Elwak Sub-County, the flagging off was done by Elwak Deputy County Commissioner, Kennedy Kwamboga, who thanked the government for the efforts it’s putting in place to cushion pastoralists against drought.
By Charles Matacho