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Gov’t Launches Livestock off Take Programme in Kwale

The government has launched a Sh40 million livestock off take programme in Kwale County in a bid to reduce loss of animals to drought.

Pastoralists in the coastal County who are on the brink of losing their livestock during drought season are set to benefit from the livestock off take programme.

Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna announced that 2,600 livestock are targeted to be salvaged in the off take programme that would be done in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross Society and the Kenya Meat Commission.

Oguna said the takeoff initiative seeks to support drought affected communities who are currently losing their cattle due to the biting drought.

The ongoing drought has affected 2.1 million Kenyans in 23 arid and semi-arid land counties as the prolonged drought takes a heavy toll.

He said the country has not witnessed incidences of starvation-induced deaths as the government has been scaling up relief food distribution for the vulnerable people amid the ravaging drought.

“As a government, we are happy to note that so far, no one has died of hunger-related causes or faces the risk of dying,” he said.

Speaking to the press in Kwale town, Oguna said the programme is meant to save livestock keepers from incurring huge losses during this drought season which the government declared a national disaster in September.

Oguna said about 130,000 people spread in Kinango and Lunga Lunga sub counties of Kwale were facing starvation due to the ongoing biting drought hence the need to start the livestock off take programme.

The government spokesman also said 26,000 individuals affected by drought in Kwale would be receiving a monthly stipend of Sh3,000 through mobile money transfer platforms to cushion and improve the livelihoods of the drought victims.

“The drought victims will continue to benefit from the government cash transfer programme until the drought subsides,” he said noting that Sh2 billion has been set aside to combat hunger and avert humanitarian disaster.

He said the programme would be engaging the communities and that the government would buy weak cattle at a fixed price of Sh15, 000. “The cattle would later be slaughtered and the meat distributed to drought affected households,” he said.

“All these State intervention mechanisms are to help the farmers withstand drought and prevent food crises,” he noted.

Oguna said the livestock off take programme was aimed at removing the affected animals before they became emaciated, lose their value, die or pose a risk of public health.

The exercise is also hoped to enable livestock keepers to salvage some capital from their stock before they died on their own, support families with cash to meet their food needs and relieve pressure on scarce water and pasture resources.

By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi



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