The government has started buying livestock from herders in Laikipia County, with the animals slaughtered to feed starving residents under a livestock offtake programme.
This comes as thousands of households in the county stare at starvation due to a persistent drought.
The government will purchase weak animals under the scheme overseen by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and would cushion herders from losses, said Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri.
The purchased animals will be slaughtered by the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) and also help boost national food reserves.
Mr Kanyiri said over 15,000 residents, especially in the northern part of the county, need food assistance.
He said a 20-tonne consignment of relief food had been dispatched for distribution.
“The relief food would be distributed to all the six sub-counties in the county and each sub-county will receive 360 bags of beans and 200 bags of rice that will be distributed to the most deserving cases and overseen by government administrators in these sub-counties,” he noted.
He regretted that there was 95 percent crop failure in the agriculturally rich county.
“Parts of the county have not received adequate rainfall for the last two years and there has been a 95 percent crop failure. Grazing fields have also been negatively affected,” he said.
For instance, in the last one month, African armyworms have ravaged hundreds of acres of farms in Ol Moran, Kirima sub-county.
The invasion affected maize crops and wheat, threatening food security in the region amid a worsening drought.
The Laikipia County government dispatched a team of county agricultural officers to assess the situation, which has been attributed to climate change.