Pastoralists in Kajiado County have been urged to embrace smart climate pastoralism to avoid huge losses characterized by death of livestock during the drought season.
The Executive Director of Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship, Dr. Hannington Odame noted that changes in climatic conditions and diminishing land sizes has made livestock keeping an unreliable economic venture.
Dr. Odame called upon the herders to be more vigilant in observing the climatic changes with the help of experts to be ready for the drought seasons.
“As an organization, we have carried out research in the last one year on the best mechanism to safeguard pastoral activities in Arid and Semi-Arid areas through ‘Climate- Smart pastoral innovations’ in bid to identify policy gaps and opportunities that can benefit pastoralists. This a sector that has a huge potential to be tapped as a viable livelihood system to an individual and to the nation,” Dr. Odame said.
According to Dr. Odame, the pastoralist community has got a rich heritage which can be highly tapped to become a tool of economic empowerment.
“Pastoralism has a limitless potential as a tool of empowerment this is because almost half of our population in the nation are pastoralists therefore the myriad of challenges that these sector undergoes must be well defined to be tackled effectively even to enable us achieve the President’s agenda on food security,” he noted.
Dr. Odame who was addressing livestock keepers at a smart climate intervention workshop held in Kajiado Town further underscored the need for pastoralists to engage in other economic ventures such as zero grazing, dairy farming, horticulture and floriculture so as to cushion themselves against the adverse effects of drought.
He added that his organization was working with all stakeholders to create a market for livestock products.
“We are working with all stakeholders, National and County government to see how best we can create an ample space for this trade to flourish. We are even working with meteorological department help us to understand rainfall patterns which will enable herders to prepare themselves adequately before the next famine strikes,” he added.
Kajiado County has on many occasions been adversely hit by drought resulting in the death of livestock, migration and depreciation of livestock product relegating the pastoralists to poverty.
One of the beneficiaries of the Smart Climate Intervention training, John Ole Paita said he had learnt a lot about practicing smart pastoralism as he had lost over 50 livestock when drought struck in 2017.
“Every time there is a drought we normally move to from one place to another in search of pasture and water which often leads to more pain because we lose livestock while on the way. But we are now happy that we have been trained on smart climate pastoralism which we can implement in our homesteads and save the hustle for ourselves, that’s why this trainings should reach to the grassroots level so that our colleagues can benefit from this trainings,” Ole Paita noted.
Furthermore, the livestock herders are calling upon the County government to fulfill its promises of drilling dams within the community areas to enable the masses to conserve water.
“Now, that we have so much rainfall in our lands most of it is going to waste because we don’t have storage capacities. It is high time that the Governor fulfilled her promises of drilling water pans where we can store water for future use during famine,” Mrs. Jennifer Semera appealed.
The Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship organization has set aside 12 acres of land at Bissil area, Kajiado Central where different ways of conserving pasture, treating animals, water harvesting measures among other livestock related matters including value addition from the livestock products will be showcased.
By Rop Janet/Albert Lemomo