Govt to buy off livestock in drought-hit areas to cushion farmers against losses

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Nairobi, Kenya, Oct 7 – Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua says that the government through the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) will undertake a livestock off-take program to cushion pastoralists from the devastating effects of ravaging drought.

Gachagua said Friday following a meeting with the representatives from county governments and development partners that there is an urgent need to scale up intervention measures as drought continues to worsen in over 20 Arid and Semi – Arid Lands (ASALs) region.

“We note with a lot of concern the destruction of livelihoods, livestock herders who have lost livestock are becoming impoverished and their lives almost coming to a halt. As part of mitigation, we have agreed with the KMC and the Kenya Red Cross that we shall purchase livestock for slaughtering and distribution to the needy population for feeding,” he said.

DP Gachagua also said that the Government will prepare beef for distribution to schools to feed students.

The second in command went on further to say that they had resolved to constitute county steering teams to enhance coordination between all stakeholders.

The teams will be jointly chaired by governors and county commissioners.

According to the DP the teams will also comprise, state non-state actors and those involved in the humanitarian interventions.

“We want to thank our governors for agreeing to put money aside to partner with the national government and development partners as part of mitigating strategies to help the people of Kenya who have been affected by drought,” he stated.

The Deputy President further said that all water agencies across the country will mobilize 100 water bowsers to be deployed in worst affected areas to address the challenges of water shortage.

He went on to say further that the intervention efforts will also involve the Kenya Defense Forces personnel.

“The KDF have agreed to provide water rigs to engage in an emergency drilling exercises to drill as many boreholes as practically possible in the worst affected areas,” he said.

To enhance transparency and accountability, Gachagua said all food meant for those affected will be received and distributed by the county coordinating teams adding that all food aid will be documented form the point of receipt up to distribution.

He appealed to the development partners and international community to consider helping the Kenyan government with more resources to boost the interventions already in place.

According to latest report by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), three counties of Laikipia, Tana River and Tharaka Nithi have joined Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Turkana, Wajir, Samburu and Marsabit County, bringing the number of counties in alarm phase to 10.

With the worsening drought trend, millions of people in the Horn of Africa are currently facing acute food insecurity and malnutrition.

In Kenya for instance, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance is projected to increase to an estimated 4.35 million between the months of October and December.

This aggravating household food security situation in the country has resulted in increased malnutrition in the arid and semi–arid (ASALs) counties, with 942,000 children below the age of five and 134,000 pregnant or lactating women requiring treatment for acute malnutrition.

This is an increase from 884,464 children and 115,725 pregnant women reported last month.

The NDMA Chief Executive Officer Hared Hassan has noted that the forecast for the October – November short rains season indicates a below-average performance and has further called for a concerted anticipatory action by key drought risk management players.

“The current pasture and browse condition is not expected to last long due to high concentration of livestock in the dry season grazing areas,” said Hassan on September.

Source : Capital FM