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Government to slaughter cows to feed starving families in Laikipia

The Government is set to slaughter 804 cows and distribute the meat to starving families in Laikipia County.

The animals bought from the locals under the emergency government off-take exercise is meant to provide relief meat to drought stricken families.

The initiative that target eight wards in the county’s hardest hit by drought and famine is also meant to lessen the burden of local pastoralists searching for pasture and water.

The slaughter is set to kick off on 20th of this month with the meat being distributed to residents of Mukogodo East, Mukogodo West, Segera, Sossian, Tigithi, Salama, Umande and Olmoran wards which have been worst affected by drought.

National Drought Management Agency (NDMA) Regional Coordinator, Guyo Iyya, told a County Steering Group (CSG) meeting held in Nanyuki that the government will spend Sh12.06 million on the exercise as each cow will be purchased at Sh15, 000.

“We shall target the weak animals for slaughter as a way of cushioning the pastoralists from further losses and at the same time feed their families with the meat,” Iyya said.

The Kenya Red Cross will pay for the animals bought under the programme that will also see special institutions, Persons Living with Disability (PLWDs), Displaced families, women and children headed households, and breastfeeding mothers and those with children under five years benefit.

The meeting chaired by Laikipia East Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Patrick Muli, heard that relief committees in the villages had been formed to oversee the distribution of the meat where one cow will be shared among 12 households while a sheep or goat will go to four households.

Iyya further told the meeting that the emergency off-take criteria to select the animals for slaughter was guided by vegetation condition index analysis of the affected areas, animal body score, resource-poor households, and unproductive animals such as old males and females.

The exercise comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta during his Mashujaa Day speech directed that additional funds be released for livestock off-take to alleviate the effects of drought in communities that are dependent on livestock.

According to statistics from NDMA, Laikipia County has 25,900 people in need of food assistance, the majority of whom are pastoralists.

By Martin Munyi

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