The government in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross has started a livestock destocking programme in Laikipia County where about 1216 cattle are expected to be slaughtered and meat offered to vulnerable households.
The exercise targets to cushion livestock keepers against incurring losses due to the ravaging drought situation in the county.
“In livestock offtake programme, we are buying animals from the community because the government understands they are dying due to the biting drought situation. So, we want to shield the farmers,” said Patrick Muli-Laikipia East Deputy County Commissioner.
He added that the slaughtered meat is given back as relief food to the same community.
Muli noted that in Laikipia East, about 130 cattle have been slaughtered in the area and targets to slaughter 190 to benefit 1900 families with each cow consumed by 10 families and a sheep by four families respectively.
He said, each cow costs about Sh15,000 and a sheep they are buying for Sh3,000 and payment is made within 24 hours after the slaughtering has been done.
Muli further revealed some of the earmarked areas they are not getting cattle to buy and therefore, they are deliberating with the concerned livestock offtake committee to see if it is possible to solicit cattle from other places and slaughter aimed at benefiting the targeted vulnerable households.
The same offtake programme has kicked off in 12 other Arid and Semi-Arid counties of Isiolo, Samburu, Baringo, Garissa, Marsabit, Mandera, Turkana, West Pokot, Makueni, Wajir, Tana River and Kajiado.
Currently, according to National Drought and Management Authority drought risk assessment data about 4.1 million people are in need of relief food countrywide, an increase from 3.5 million people in May. Laikipia and eight other counties are classified in an alarming drought phase.
By Muturi Mwangi