Livestock farmers in West Pokot can breathe a sigh of relief after the government began buying and slaughtering animals and distributing the meat to residents to cushion them from the effects of drought.
An estimated 1,310 animals will be slaughtered in 13 wards and the meat dished out to over 200,000 hunger-stricken families.
West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said the destocking programme would lessen the burden on pastoralists searching for pasture and water.
He said it is being implemented in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), Kenya Meat Commission and National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), among other stakeholders.
The government will buy each cow for Sh15,000 to be slaughtered and shared by 10 households.
More than 13,000 households are expected to benefit from the programme.
Among the wards hit hard by drought are Masol, Lomut, lower Sekker, Endugh, lower Kasei, Kiwawa, Alale, Kapchok, Kodich, Suam, lower Riwo, lower Chepareria and lower Batei.
Mr Okello said police would oversee the scheme by providing security while the KRCS will pay farmers through mobile money.
Some families have migrated to Uganda in search of pasture and water for their livestock, he added.
He said bags of rice, beans and maize had been received and they would be distributed to the affected families.
"Every sub-county will get 1,200 bags of beans and 510 bags of rice to help feed the affected families," he said.
Moses Pkemei, from Lomut, said the area has been devastated by drought and idle youths should be given irrigation farms to plant food.
"We appreciate the help from the government, but we ask officials to increase the number of livestock to be slaughtered," he said.