Buy our livestock, drought-hit Tharaka Nithi residents ask government
Livestock keepers in Tharaka North want the government to buy their emaciated animals to prevent them from dying due to drought.
Speaking at Kiamiramba Market in Gatunga ward on Thursday, the residents said they were expecting the drought situation to worsen for about a month after rainfall because all the dry materials that the livestock had been surviving on will rot.
They said the land will remain bare until the green vegetation grows.
“We are appealing to the government to buy our livestock to save us from total loss because immediately the rain starts, there will be nothing for them to feed on until the green vegetation grows,” said Mr Kinoti Kithaka, a resident.
He said the farmers had been promised the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) in collaboration with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) would buy their livestock and slaughter and give the meat to hunger-hit residents but in vain.
He noted that due to lack of pasture, many animals including cows and goats had died and others were seriously malnourished and that the few businessmen from other parts of the country were offering poor prices.
Ms Jane Kathuni, a farmer said although they have prepared their lands and planted, they are yet to receive rainfall but they are optimistic because it had started in parts of the county.
She noted that for the last three years, the region had been receiving little rainfall not enough to support crop maturity or even the growth of pasture.
Ms Kathuni said even wild animals in the neighbouring Meru National Park are suffering because they have nothing to feed on and Ura River which is depended on by both animals and residents dried up months ago.
“We are hoping that this season we will receive enough rainfall that will support crop maturity and pasture growth,” said Ms Kathuni.
The weathermen have announced the October-November-December rains that started this week will be depressed in most parts of the country and advised farmers to plant fast-maturity crops.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) data shows that more than 40,000 people in Tharaka constituency have seriously been affected by the drought and are in serious need of food aid.
The most affected areas are the lower sides of Gatunga, Chiakariga, Mukothima, Marimanti and Nkondi wards.