Pastoralists accuse KMC of exploitation in livestock off-take programme


Drought, Samburu County

 

Livestock farmers in Samburu central sub-counties have complained of being exploited by Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) that they are accusing of buying their livestock at a lower price instead of the Ksh18,000 per cow that was announced by the government in the ongoing off-take program.

“They are buying each cow from us at a cost of between Ksh3000 to Ksh6000 yet we were told that the government would buy each cow at Sh18,000. We are in agony. Where did the government’s money that had been set aside for this program disappear to?” posed Alice Lepariyo.

Echoing the sentiments of his colleagues, Toilas Lenangeli confessed to have been forced by circumstances of drought to sell his cattle at a throw away price offered by KMC contractors.

“There is nowhere I could have taken my cattle because I don’t have food and water for them. I better sell them at a poor price as they would have succumbed to drought,” he said.

However, KMC Commissioner James Lenayara has denied the claims from farmers that the institution exploiting them with poor prices against the government’s stipulated price.

“KMC is buying each cow at a cost of Ksh18,000.  Even though we have not paid for some of the cattle we slaughtered as the government has delayed in disbursing the money, but we hope to receive the money for payment soon,” said Lenayara.

KMC has also been defended by the region’s assistant County Commissioner Tobius Onyango who said he has seen the institution buy livestock from the contracted youths at the government’s stipulated price.

“When KMC comes to the ground they pay youths that have been contracted Ksh18,000 for each cow they bring.  Maybe these youths lower prices when they go to the farmers but that is not the intention of the government,” he said.

Lenayara said the government has so far spent Ksh46million on buying close to 2600 heads of cattle from Samburu County in the first phase of the government’s off take program since January this year.

“Of the 2600 cattle 600 were slaughtered for the hunger stricken families in the county as the rest were transported to factory for meat processing,” said Lenayara.

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Story By Johnston Keti
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