pastoralists in Mandera county have a reason to smile after an inter-agency team offer to roll out a livestock offtake program designed to protect them from further losses of livelihood accassioned by severe drought in the region.
The Government and the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) was carrying out ‘slaughter destocking’ activities in an effort to remove the affected animals before they become emaciated, lose their value, die or pose a risk to public health.
The exercise is deemed to reduce the loss of animals as drought has impacted negatively on both human and livestock populations in the area.
The whole exercise of destocking involves buying the animals from owners at agreed prices, slaughtering and distributing the meat to vulnerable communities.
Residents of Mandera East came out in large numbers with their livestock in an effort to save the remaining ones.
The program targets some 3010 livestock including cattle, sheep, goats and camels hardest hit by the prolonged dry spell, following failed rains for three consecutive years. Over 80 percent of residents have been affected as pasture and water resources have been depleted.
Mandera County Director of National Drought Management Authority, (NDMA), Hussein Mohammed, has in the past given animal pellets to mitigate the effects of drought, amid warning that the drought situation is expected to worsen.
Through community engagement, KRCS purchased very weak livestock with visible four thin ribs from willing pastoralists at an agreed price of Sh15000 per cow and Sh3000 per goat.
So far meat from the slaughtered livestock has been distributed to affected families within the county.
By Dickson Githaiga