Please buy our dying cattle, Samburu herders tell gov’t

Image of dead cow. PHOTO/FILE

Livestock farmers in Samburu North are appealing to the county and national governments to speed up the process of buying 12,000 heads of cattle from them in an off-take programme to curb losses occasioned by the ongoing drought.

The herders from Lesirkan, Ngilai, Baragoi, and Marti areas in Samburu North have made the appeal after more than 1000 heads of cattle in their herds died since Saturday due to lack of water and pasture as the prolonged drought continues to bite.

John Lerentile, who is among herders, expressed fear that he would lose his entire herd of cattle if the process is not carried out soon.

“Nobody will be keeping livestock in the next two weeks from this region. We are trekking for more than 18 kilometres with weak animals in search of pasture and water. Most of them succumb to hunger along the way,” he told Citizen Digital at his temporary home in the Kawap grazing field.

Pepi Lesoloyia, another herder from Samburu North, noted that they depend on their livestock for their livelihood, adding that the government should move with speed to solve their problem.

“We are living in great fear here because we fully depend on livestock keeping for our livelihood. I don’t know when the government is coming over to buy them because they are getting finished as they are dying daily in large numbers,” he said.

The herders are now urging the government to supply relief food to their hunger stricken families back home as they have committed all their efforts to save their only sources of livelihood from dying.

This comes barely three days after Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) Managing Director Joseph Learamo announced that KMC would be buying 2000 heads of cattle at a cost of Ksh18,000 each in Samburu County using some of the Ksh170million set aside by government to buy livestock from 14 counties that have been worst hit by drought in the first phase.

The County Government of Samburu in collaboration with National Drought Management Authority also announced that they would be buying 10,000 heads of livestock in the county at a cost of Ksh10,000 per cow as a drought mitigation measure.

With an increasing number of people threatened by hunger, Governor Lenolkulal said the weak animals to be bought by the county government would be slaughtered for local consumption by hunger stricken residents.

Currently 112,000 people in Samburu North and Samburu East Sub Counties are affected by drought and are in need of relief food aid, according to a monthly report released on Friday during Samburu County’s Group Steering Committee Meeting on hunger and drought.

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Story By Johnston Keti
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