21 March 2011

Kenya: Sh12 Million to Buy Livestock in Drought-Hit County

Photo: Anthony Morland/IRIN
A Turkana girl waters camels from a hole dug in a dry river bed near Kenya’s border with Uganda. Increasing drought has obliged pastoralists to travel further in their search for pasture and water. This often brings them into conflict with rival pastoralist communities.

Nairobi — A Sh12 million destocking programme will be carried out in Turkana County to relieve pastoralists who have been hit hard by drought.

Six districts in the county have been allocated Sh2 million each for buying livestock to be slaughtered and the meat distributed among the locals faced with starvation. The programme was launched at Lokaper in Turkana South District over the weekend.

"This programme is aimed at cushioning the pastoralists from incurring losses caused by drought," area district commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said. The money is part of the Sh200 million released by the government through the Ministry of Livestock Development for destocking among pastoral communities.

Under the programme, the government will also help the pastoralists to re-stock their animals once there is enough pasture. Recently, the government also released Sh18 million to improve water supply in Turkana County, following acute shortage caused by the prolonged drought.

The six districts in the county were allocated Sh3 million each to supply water to famine-stricken families who are in urgent need of relief supplies. "The allocation will enhance supply of water using trucks for domestic and livestock consumption," Mr Kanyiri said.

A dispute over water, he said, turned tragic last month when a man was shot dead following disagreement with a neighbour. The man was killed after he diverted water to a canal leading to his farm at Katilu Irrigation Scheme.

Heavy rains have, however, started pounding some parts of the North Rift region, bringing relief to livestock and grain farmers. "Scarcity of pasture and water will soon be a thing of the past" Mr Ewoi Ekaru from Kainuk said.

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