Govt to buy livestock hit by drought in Laikipia County

Isiolo goat herder

A boy grazes goats in Oldonyiro, Isiolo near the county's border with Laikipia. More than 70,000 animals have died in the county in the last six months from drought according to NDMA.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

The government will start buying livestock affected by drought in Laikipia County.

County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri announced the start of an off-take programme under which the State would buy cattle affected by the harsh weather.

Hundreds of cattle have succumbed to the effects of drought in the county, while many are emaciated, with locals saying the government intervention is a ‘little’ late.

By the end of May, some 4,500 cattle had died in Laikipia owing to pasture and water scarcity, while 9,800 goats and sheep had succumbed.

A report compiled by the National Drought Management Authority indicates that an additional 300 cattle and 120 goats and sheep died while in transit from Laikipia to Nyeri in search of pasture.

The drought has also affected the farming community in Laikipia East and Laikipia Central sub-counties.

On Thursday, Mr Kanyiri flagged off a trailer loaded with 600 bags of rice and beans to be distributed to vulnerable families in Nanyuki ward and Daiga division.

He said about 15,000 households were facing starvation across the county and promised that more relief food would be distributed in the coming days.

Mr Kanyiri told armed herders to stay away from Laikipia County, warning that the government would confiscate any illegal firearms that they hold.

The commissioner noted that hundreds of animals were moving into Laikipia in search of pasture, with some armed herders driving the livestock onto private conservancies and causing conflicts.

“In the recent past, we have witnessed hundreds of animals coming here from parts of Isiolo and Samburu counties. Some of the herders are armed and target private conservancies and ranches. Let them be warned that we shall not allow this to continue,” cautioned Mr Kanyiri.

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