The pastoralists’ community in Narok County has been asked to keep proper records of their animals that can be used as collateral to borrow loans in a bid to improve their livelihood.
Despite the County being a pastoral region endowed with over four (4) million cattle, goats and sheep, the livestock keepers have no records with them, making it difficult for them to access loans or benefit from insurance companies.
The County Agriculture and Livestock Chief Officer (CO), Dr. David ole Letuati, the farmers have hundreds of livestock that can guarantee them a large amount of loan from financial institutions, however, lack of proper records is a huddle to enable them process the loan.
He spoke, Wednesday, during a meeting with Lofte Kesho Limited that deals with financing of smallholder livestock keepers, where he called on farmers to insure their livestock.
The Chief Officer encouraged them to keep records of new stock, sale of milk, new births that can act as prove in the financial institutions.
“Our livestock farmers are rich, they have hundreds of herds that can grant them loans worth millions of shillings but they do not have any financial proof,” said Dr. Letuati.
The County Official asked the farmers to be saving their money through mainstream banks as well as mobile money services, where they are able to prove the value of their stock if requested by insurance or money-lending institutions.
Lofte Kesho Commercial Manager, Bernard Njathi, reiterated that the Organization is reaching out to livestock keepers to sensitise them on the importance of insuring their livestock against natural calamities such as drought.
“We want to break the traditional barriers that have been hindering local farmers from turning their livestock into assets and making themselves credit-worthy and also insuring them to restore investment confidence,” said Njathi.
He added that they were also carrying out civic education among farmers on the importance of digital ear tags that they are giving to farmers in Narok and Kajiado counties.
“In the livestock value chain, skin is also valuable. We have realized that most farmers still brand their livestock’s skin for identification which lowers the quality of the hides and skins,” explained Njathi.
He narrated that the Lofte Kesho are offering two types of ear tags; one for identification and another one that can be connected with a mobile phone and keeps digital records of the livestock.
Njathi said climate change has affected animal production, but advocated the need for farmers in Narok and Kajiado, to keep dual-purpose cow breeds such as the Sahiwal, which are drought-resistant and can produce meat.
Jacob Lempaka, a dairy farmer at Ntulele in Narok East, who attended the training asked the financial/insurance companies to roll out massive capacity building on insurance, saying most farmers are still ignorant.
“Most farmers rear livestock for posterity and should they be enlightened that they can use them as security in banks and that they can insure them against drought, then there could be a paradigm shift in the livestock industry,” said Mr Lempaka.
By Ann Salaton