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