Turkana livestock traders forced to explores alternative ways as drought intensifies

Livestock traders in Turkana have been forced to explore diverse ways of keeping their livestock healthy amid the worsening drought conditions in the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties in Kenya.

The traders have opted to buy animal feeds for their animals, which they are expecting to exchange for both domestic and commercial purposes.

“The price you sell depends on how you take care of your livestock which you intend to sell, at times we are forced to buy some grass and grains, to feed the ones we would wish to bring to the market, if not so, you will end up making heavy losses,” said Lokai, a Livestock trader.

The traders claim the situation makes them incur additional expenses, which would eventually plunge their profits.

“We have been forced to keep our camels, cows and donkeys at home until they regain their health and weight when the rainy season commences because now they won’t earn any good price in the market due to low quality and emaciation,” said Ekidor, another livestock trader.

They are calling on the government to intervene to provide them with animal feeds, to help them evade losses resulting from the death of livestock, due to drought.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) drought on July 2021 announced, twelve counties of Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Samburu, Kitui, Lamu, Isiolo and Laikipia are in the alert drought phase.

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On September 1 the government announced that it will disburse Ksh.2 billion under the National Drought Emergency Fund to respond to the ongoing drought situation in the country.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said that Kenya is facing drought as a result of the short rains that failed between October and December 2020. Similarly, the long rains expected between March and May 2021 were below average across the country, particularly in the Northern and Coast regions.

This comes on the heel of a warning by the Kenya Meteorological Department on Thursday that the continuation of sunny and dry weather conditions in some regions in the country may lead to diminishing pastures for livestock, with a prolonged dry spell highly anticipated for the month of September.

The weatherman is encouraged livestock farmers to de-stock their herds while they are still in good condition.

“The continuation of sunny and dry weather conditions in the Southeastern lowlands, Northeastern and most of Northwestern Kenya may lead to diminishing pastures for livestock in these regions. Close monitoring of the situation is, therefore, necessary to avert loss of livestock,” said David Gikungu, Director of met Department.

With the anticipated dry spell, water levels in the dams across the country are expected to remain low during this period and may therefore affect hydroelectric power generation.

Support content by Ekuwam Sylvester of KNA

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Collins Ogutu

Nairobi based Digital Journalist, Corporate Communication Expert and Digital Marketer with a wealth of experience in multimedia. Accredited member of the Media Council of Kenya.

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