The government is set to buy and slaughter livestock in West Pokot County to cushion farmers against drought effects by providing relief meat and by averting livestock deaths through destocking programme.
Kipkomo Sub County Deputy County Commission (DCC) Teresia Muguro while speaking to press on behalf of the region’s county commissioner said the livestock offtake programme is meant to provide relief meat to drought-stricken families and also lessens the burden of pastorals searching for pasture and water for many animals through destocking programme.
“The months of March, April and May long rains performed dismally, and it is likely that from October to December of this year the region will experience below average rains and the community need to be encouraged to destock to ease pressure on pasture,” DCC Muguro said.
Ms Muguro said the programme has been implemented in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) with the state department of livestock and county government County Steering Groups, Ministry of interior, Ministry of devolution and planning and National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) as key stakeholders.
She noted that stakeholders’ target to purchase 1310 cattle which will be slaughtered to provide relief meat to the vulnerable households as drought worsen in some parts of the region causing pasture to deplete and crop failure.
Ms Muguro noted the county steering group may substitute cattle for sheep or goats, where one cow would be equivalent to five sheep or goats depending on the farmer preference and availability.
“Each cow will be bought at a cost of Sh15,000 and a sheep or a goat will be purchased at Sh3000 each,” she said.
She said one cow will feed ten families and one sheep or a goat to feed four families while for the institution one cow will feed 50 students.
She said farmers will be paid by KRCS through mobile money within 24 hours of livestock purchase.
Ms Muguro urged Kenya Meat Commission, state department of livestock and the Kenya Red Cross Society to co-ordinate and monitor the exercise for its success since it is meant to reduce impact of drought and help build resilience to hunger-stricken households.
“The programme has the potential to impact the lives of the farmers and pastoral community in a great way if implemented well with support from all stakeholders,” she urged.
She said stakeholders need to come up with criteria for selection of households for the programme involves vulnerable families, institutions who have not been incorporated in other society safety net programs.
She further urged stakeholders to come with a tentative schedule for the slaughter programme in conjunction with the county Red Cross Society representatives.
“Stakeholders to determine how they will dispose of hides and skin generated from the program and also determine any health risks that can arise from the programme and mitigation measures,” she advised.
Ms Muguro told the Relief Committee to guide on selection of livestock farmers to supply livestock for the program and how the animals would be slaughtered, putting into consideration the culture and religious belief to avoid conflicts.
“Relief Committee to determine how the meat will be distributed to families based on culture or what is acceptable within the community,” she further said.
She told Kenya Red Cross Society to register livestock farmers identified by the relief committees to supply livestock for the program using the Red Cross online platform.
Ms Muguro further urged them to finalise the slaughter programme on the D-Days by providing logistics transportation of key personnel involved in the programme, ensuring that farmers are paid on time, and by coordinating distribution of meat to the families or households.
She urged the Community to participate in verification of beneficiaries led by KRCs and help provide volunteers who will help to slaughter and distribute the relief meat under the leadership of the KRC.
“I urge the community to give timely feedback to the KRC personnel for action or future plans,” she advised.
The wards which are most affected in the county include Masol, Lomut, lower Sekker, Endugh, lower Kasei, Kiwawa, Alale, Kapchok, Kodich, Suam, lower Riwo, lower Chepareria and lower Batei ward.
Ms Muguro said the police will oversee the program by providing security during the offtake program.
She said destocking programme have been implemented in other counties affected by drought.