State asked to empower Livestock keepers

Agriculture Counties Editor's Pick Meru

Livestock farmers from Meru County have urged the government to improve and empower the sector just like any other form of farming.

Speaking Wednesday in a forum that brought together farmers from Tigania East,Tigania West,  Igembe Central and Igembe North Sub Counties, the farmers pointed out that  livestock  farmers, especially beef farmers have been neglected .

Joseph Muriira, chairperson of Nyambene beef farmers’ cooperative union  said, “we  need the  government  to come up with  subsidies for livestock  farmers so as to encourage  more  people  to  venture  into business at the  same time  farmers will get better returns.“

He noted  that  beef  farming contributes  hugely  to the development of the  nation, hence   better  policies  that  encourage  growth of the  industry  should  be  adopted.

He pointed out that many livestock farmers who mostly occupy arid lands are facing   many hardships such as lack of enough water, pasture and lack of security.

Murira noted that  during  the  dry  seasons  farmers  compete for  little  pasture and  water  hence   causing lots of conflicts  with  neighboring communities.

“We need  the government  to  dig   more  boreholes and also during  the dry spells  to  provide  animal feeds  to avert conflicts  that arise as farmers move in search of pasture.

Muriira also urged the government to help them in acquiring improved beef cattle breeds that are drought resistant.

He recounted losses undergone by farmers who lost their livestock to drought and diseases pleading with the government to help them in getting an insurance cover for their livestock.

“We have lost hundreds of animals last year due to drought, our farmers need an insurance cover that is pocket friendly to cushion them against losses” he said.

The livestock cooperative union also wants assistance in setting up an industry for the beef products in their region which will make it easy for the farmers to market their produce.

Muriira also asked the government to issue the farmers with a license allowing them to sell their meat directly to Kenya Meat Commission and also to seek markets outside the country.

He called upon the government to provide enough security for the livestock farmers against the cattle raiders.

“We have  lost many  livestock to bandits and our loved ones  have  also lost their lives as they protect  their livelihood” he said  urging the  government to  deploy  more security personnel  on areas bordering Isiolo County and Meru County.

By Muguongo Judy

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