Drought: Agony in Kajiado as price of a cow drops from Ksh.20K to Ksh.500
Pastoralists in Kajiado are losing hundreds of their livestock to the ongoing drought daily; in addition, prices of livestock in the county have plummeted to deplorable levels as farmers rush to dispose of weak and starving animals.
Farmers in Bisil market are selling sheep and goats for as low as Ksh.100 while a cow is selling for a throw-away price of Ksh.500, down from between Ksh.20,000 and Ksh.50,000 before the drought's peak.
The ravaging drought in the county has forced residents who depend on these animals for their livelihood to dispose of them to buy food and other necessities. The prices are however so heartbreaking it sounds unbelievable.
John, a resident, is holding Ksh.1,200 after selling 12 goats. "Hii pesa nimepokea ni mbuzi kumi na wawili nimeuza, kwa kila mbuzi ni mia ndio nimepewa saa hii," he says.
Another resident holds Ksh.200 after selling two sheep. He says: "Hii ni kondoo mbili, mia mia…sasa hii pesa inakula nini? Tulikuwa tunauza kondoo moja elfu tano."
”Hata kama nakuja hapa mbuzi inapatikana ya 150, halafu unaenda nyumbani hakuna kitu ya kupelekea watoto kama wanaenda shule na wamefukuzwa wanakaa nyumbani na hakuna chochote,” another resident added.
Frail and feeble cows lie on the ground within the marketplace, at least they managed to get here but for some, it is a matter of time before the inevitable happens. The animals look helpless.
The movement in their eyes is indicative of the struggle to remain alive despite the body's refusal to comply. It could be too late and the price the cow will fetch is demeaning for an animal that is so highly valued by the community
“Saa hii unauza ngombe na Ksh.500, ambayo hata ile safari pekee haiwezi lipia. So hata mimi tulikuwa tunawasaidia kuwanunulia lakini mahali tunapelekanga imekuwa too much," a resident said.
“Na ukipeleka Nairobi upeleke Burma unawezaambiwa tu Ksh.500 bila kupima, kama yangu saa hii hii nikiwa nimesimama hapa nimepigiwa simu nipeane na Ksh.500 ama tutupe," said another.
Back in the villages, wild animals are suffering the same fate, the vultures making a feast of the locals' painful losses.
"Hata wanyama wanakufa; punda milia sita wamekufa karibu na boma langu, punda wangu wawili wamekufa kwa boma leo,” a farmer said.
The struggle for water for human and animal use is evident, a few who are lucky to access community water points are in a better position since their animals can at least quench their thirst.
Emily Kuya, a village elder in Oleserian, says the few remaining livestock are giving them sleepless nights on what to feed on. What was not edible in the past is now valuable.
”Mtu alikuwa na ng’ombe 100 na sasa ako na 5, ata unakosa la kufanya kwa hivyo tunaangamia sana…ikiwa sasa hii kiangazi itaendelea wiki mbili tutaangamia kabisa, matumaini yetu inaisha,” Kuya stated.
The weatherman has hinted that the situation may run into next year; but according to Kajiado residents, another failed rainy season will be disastrous. Not that it is not already.
Should the rains pour sufficiently and replenish water sources and breathe life into the pastures, it may still not be enough food for the livestock, nor spur the recovery needed here. That is likely to take a long time
According to the government and humanitarian agencies, 4.35 million Kenyans in 29 counties are in need of food assistance. For some, that need is critical.
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