The Kenya Red Cross Society has begun the livestock off take and cash transfer programs in Kwale County to salvage livestock farmers from incurring huge losses during the drought season.
Livestock off take and cash transfer are programs initiated by the humanitarian organization in partnership with the national government that seeks to benefit residents ravaged by the drought.
According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the livestock off take program will benefit 500 pastoralists while the cash transfer will benefit 1,000 households in Kinango, Lunga Lunga, and Matuga sub counties.
The livestock off take program involves buying and slaughtering livestock and distributing the meat to the residents.
Addressing the press in his office Kenya Red Cross Society’s Kwale County Coordinator, Mohammed Mwainzi said the program has already benefited a section of pastoral communities in Kinango and Lunga Lunga sub counties.
Mwainzi added that the two initiatives by the humanitarian organization will help 130,000 residents facing starvation due to the ongoing drought hence the move to start the intervention programmes.
He said the off take programme is to curb livestock deaths during the drought season and to empower livestock keepers so as to overcome the ravages of drought and famine situation.
‘The situation at the ground is worse and we hope this initiative will help the residents put food on the table,’’Mwainzi said.
The County director noted that the two programs will be extended to areas that have no access to piped water such as Samburu Chengoni Ward, Mackinnon Road Ward, Puma Ward, Kasemeni Ward, Ndavaya Ward, Mwereni Ward, and Mbunguni Ward in Matuga.
The programs in the county are championed by the national government through National Drought Management Authority, County Government and international organizations such as Food Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Mwainzi noted that the county department of agriculture, livestock, and fisheries has dispatched a team of veterinary officers who are working with the humanitarian organization to assess the health and conditions of the animals before they are included in the program.
Mwainzi assured the residents that the meat being distributed is safe and residents should accept it.
“We have officers on the grounds that are assessing the health conditions of the animals and if they recommend these animals then we know that they are safe. We are keen on ensuring that we protect the lives of the people,” he said.
He said a cow is priced between Sh 5,000 and Sh 6,000 adding that the cash transfer will see households receiving Sh 5,400 monthly for two months.
Mwainzi said the society is working closely with local administrators in the section of the households for the program. He added that households that are vulnerable such as widowed mothers and orphaned homes are being given priority.
“This program can’t serve all residents in the affected sub counties and to make it effective, we are targeting those that are at high risk especially the widowed and orphaned homes. These people don’t have people to take care of them,” Mwainzi said.
Kwale County is among the 16 counties listed countrywide to be at risk following the intense drought that has continued to destroy sources of livelihood such as livestock.
The Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and the Ministry of Public Services and Special Programs is currently distributing relief food in the county.
The County Government through the World Bank recently procured three water bowsers to aid the supply of clean water to the residents of Kinango and Lunga Lunga sub counties.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi