Government to slaughter emaciated livestock due to drought to avert hunger.

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File photo
File photo

The government has put measures in place to avert the looming hunger in ASAL areas where drought has hit the regions.

The animals bought under the emergency government off-take are meant to provide relief meat to drought-stricken families. It also lessens the burden of pastoralists’ searching for pasture and water.

The program will assist people adversely affected by prolonged drought hence seeks to support drought affected communities who are currently losing their cattle due to the biting drought.

The ongoing drought has affected 2.1 million Kenyans in 23 arid and semi-arid land counties as the prolonged drought takes a heavy toll.

The exercise is also hoped to enable livestock keepers to salvage some capital from their stock before they die on their own, support families with cash to meet their food needs and relieve pressure on scarce water and pasture resources.

The programme  would be  done in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross Society and the Kenya Meat Commission.

The Kenya Red Cross will pay for the animals bought under the programme. It will benefit special institutions, people with disabilities, displaced families, households headed by women and children, nursing mothers and children younger than age five.

Public Service, Gender, senior citizens affairs and special programs Principal Secretary Micah Powon  said  that the government has started buying livestock from the drought stricken areas to cushion pastoralists against the effects of the severe drought.

Mr. Powon said the livestock off take programme was aimed at removing the affected animals before they became emaciated, lose their value, die or pose a risk of public health.

“Pastoralists in affected areas who are on the brink of losing their livestock during drought season are set to benefit from the livestock off take programme,”he said.

Mr. Powon  said weak  livestock will be bought from farmers for slaughter at the Kenya Meat Commission to boost up the national food reserve.

“We shall target the weak animals for slaughter as a way of cushioning the pastoralists from further losses and at the same time feed their families with the meat,” Mr. Powon  said.

He called on farmers to embrace the livestock off take programme and auction their stocks before they die on their own.

“The Government will slaughter emaciated livestock from herders and give meat to people faced with hunger. Livestock keepers will benefit from the slaughter initiative through the ministry of agriculture and livestock with the Kenya Red Cross Society which is taking the lead to slaughter weak animals and meat given to beneficiaries to eat,”he said.

Mr. Powon said the government was scaling up relief food distribution for vulnerable people in  affected  counties, amid the ravaging drought.

“As ministry in charge of drought we have ten counties in the alert stage,10 in alert and three which are in a normal stage. Some areas have no enough food,”he said.

Mr. Powon said that the relief food distribution programme is meant to avert an emergency food situation in the worst affected areas of the country as drought deepens.

“From 2017 to 2018  drought 2019, we have been having drought, 2019 we had floods and 2020 we had locusts and 2021 Covid 19 .We shall ensure that  the drought is mitigated  through developed resilience in this areas .We have a coordinated approach to ensure that no citizen  dies of hunger ,” said the PS.

He said the government is on top of the drought situation and making all arrangements to avert humanitarian disaster.

The Government in September this year declared the ongoing drought affecting 23 counties a National Disaster after a poor rain season.

Mr. Powon  said besides declaring the drought a National Disaster, the government has set aside Sh 2 billion to combat hunger and forestall a humanitarian disaster from unfolding.

“The 2 billion shillings was divided among implementing state departments. Kshs 350 ,000 went to the  ministry of water to track water to counties which are affected with drought. Additional Ksh 450 million shillings taken to KMC to buy weak, emaciated animals and slaughtered at KMC ,”he said.

He noted that the government is doing its best to mitigate the effects of the drought by mobilising all the resources at its disposal to help alleviate hunger.

Mr. Powon who spoke to the press at Pser area noted that the deteriorating food situation in the region is blamed on prolonged drought that has destroyed crops and affected livestock.

The PS  said the affected residents will receive assorted food stuff as well as monetary funds from the government as long as the current dry spell persists.

He said the exercise will also include water distribution using water boozers to the affected areas.

He said the goal is to continue to reduce poverty, hunger, and vulnerability in the focus counties, resulting in better and more sustainable safety nets for poor and vulnerable households.