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Kenya in urgent rush to save livestock from La Nina

GEORGE OKORE 01/05/2011 @ 7:46am Fifteen years experience as a journalist

By George Okore:

Kenyan livestock famers have began feeling the effects of La Nina weather phenomenon, which is causing mild drought in arid and semi arid regions of the country. Failure to rain during the October –December 2010 season means that pastoralists are moving their livestock in search of water and pasture.

Livestock moving from Lowland to   highland areas are exposed to heavy parasite challenge and ticks. The most affected are the nomadic communities of Turkana, Pokot and Samburus who are congregated their livestock into watering and pasturing areas, leading to fears of outbreak of   Foot and Mouth Disease, Pneumonia, Anthrax, CCPC, Sheep and Goat Pox among others.

Kenyan Livestock Minister Dr Mohamed Kuti today warned that more animals will succumb and die unless urgent mitigation measures are put in place. “Due to scarcity of water and pasture, there has been massive migration of livestock from dry grazing areas and we are fearful the situation might lead to high mortality of livestock, ’says Dr Kuti.

 While addressing an international press conference in his office today, the minister  says depressed rainfall is a source of worry , but assured  that the ministry  has put in place contingency plans  to mitigate the effects of the drought . He says the affected communities will be provided with livestock based interventions and assets. To activate the plans, the ministry urgently needs Ksh 1.5 billions to construct water pans and off take some for slaughter and eventual distribution as relief food.  Other services needed include provision of livestock feeds and supplements.

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