9 June 2008

Kenya: MPs Seek New Livestock Policy

Nairobi — The Pastoralist Parliamentary Group has called for a new livestock policy to boost productivity among pastoral communities.

They said the current policy was outdated, making it difficult to push for major reforms in the livestock sector, the communities' economic mainstay.

Addressing the Press after a meeting of the lobby group in Mombasa, the 22 lawmakers said the sector was underfunded, a situation that affected the growth of the industry.

Arid lands

They urged the Government to improve resource allocation to pastoral communities through the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands.

"Currently, the ministry has been allocated very little resources by the Government and we are keenly waiting for the budget to see how much it will get because without proper funding, the ministry will not realise its goals.

"We will soon be publishing a Bill for the new livestock policy in Parliament and push for the full recognition of the sector, and empowering the local communities in areas like education, land and markets for livestock products," they said in a statement read by the group's secretary-general and Turkana South MP, Mr Ekwee Ethuro.

They said the new policy will also address other social issues like education through meaningful affirmative action for pastoralists.

"This should include the establishment of specialised schools, increase in the number of bursaries, rationalisation of scholarship opportunities and employment of more teachers," they said.

On the issue of resettlement, the parliamentary group said there were many post-election violence victims from pastoral regions who had not been recognised by the Government.

"We call on the Government to register these IDPs (internally displaced persons) and accord them assistance according to its resettlement strategy," they said.

The newly elected chairman and Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim said most of the problems facing the pastoral communities would be addressed through the establishment of the Livestock Development Authority.

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