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State Urged To Place Livestock Off-Take Programme In Isiolo

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Livestock owners and traders in Isiolo County have appealed to the government to buy off their emaciated animals and cushion them from incurring huge losses from the effects of the prevailing drought.

They want the government, through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and other partners, to buy their stock at a reasonable price so as to cushion them against losing their major source of livelihood.

The traders at the livestock market complained about the poor prices the animals were fetching due to their body condition and keeping off buyers as the drought situation continued to get worse.

Isiolo Livestock Market Chairman, Mr. Abdi Halake Fayo, said the situation has kept away the buyers who used to come from faraway countries such as Nairobi and Kiambu, hence adversely affecting their business.

He urged the national and county governments to initiate programs that will moderate the starvation that is currently staring at them and the local people who earn a living from livestock and their products.

Isiolo NDMA County Coordinator Mr. Omar Abdullahi said that the drought situation in Isiolo is severe as this is now the fourth season in a row that the area has not received adequate rainfall.

Mr. Omar noted that an assessment conducted recently revealed that over 28,000 households in Isiolo County are in dire need of humanitarian aid, with the situation likely to worsen if the region does not receive rainfall in the October-December rainy season.

Speaking at the Isiolo Livestock Market in the company of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) representatives who visited the county to assess the situation and inspect the progress of their various programmes in the area last week, the County Executive Member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr. Lawrence Mwongela, said that Oldonyiro, Kipsing, Sericho, Garbatula, Chari, and Cherab areas were the most affected.

According to Dr. Mwongela, at least 60 per cent of animals across the country are affected and are in dire need of nutritional supplements like the “range cubes” to improve their body condition and help them overcome the drought challenges.

He said that there was a need for the government to subsidize the range cubes so that they were made available locally and at fair prices.

He added that the county government was partnering with various organizations to scale up water trucking services in most of the hard-hit areas and had also hired experts.

Dr. Mwongela reiterated that there was a need for the National Government, through the Kenya Meat Commission, to also conduct a “Livestock Off-take Programme” that would enable them to buy the emaciated animals from locals to stay away from further losses.

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