1.1.2 Access to Water
The main water sources in the cluster are boreholes, shallow wells, dams, pans, rock catchments and rain water harvesting both for domestic and livestock use. Water accessibility has improved significantly as compared to the last four seasons. It is readily available and is expected to last until the onset of the long rains. However water shortages have been reported in parts of Central and Golbo Divisions of Moyale due to damage to dams that serve the areas as a result of heavy rains. Some pans and dams are heavily silted and will need to be desilted.
The distances to watering points remain below normal and vary from district to district. Distances to water sources for both domestic and livestock range from 2 – 10km against a norm of 5 – 12 km. In the lowlands of Marsabit, distances range between 10 – 30 km and is within the norm. There are no major conflicts over water except in Marsabit where there are localized conflicts in Central and Gadamoji Divisions. Provincial administration and peace committees are resolving arising conflicts.
1.1.3 Livestock Production
Pasture and browse has significantly improved in the cluster in both quality and quantity and is expected to be sufficient for livestock up to the next season. Most animals are currently within the wet season grazing areas except for livestock in Lorroki plateau in Samburu which have moved to Kisima and Kirimon due to insecurity in the area. In Turkana, parts of Kerio and Lokichar Divisions where rainfall was not very good, the livestock have moved to Lokui hills. Normally, most livestock would currently be in the dry season grazing areas.
Livestock body condition is generally good in all species. Kidding and lambing is taking place in small stock. However, cattle are in calf and are expected to start calving in April/May. Camels will take longer and are expected to start calving at the end of the year. Consequently, milk availability has slightly improved especially in small stock but still remains below normal. Small stock dry quickly and milk availability is only expected to improve significantly when the cattle start calving between May and June and if the performance of the up coming rainy season is good.
There was an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in Moyale District in January with 11 out of 80 (13.8%) blood samples collected testing positive. So far, there are no confirmed deaths of livestock from the RVF. There was no outbreak of the disease in other districts within the region. However, to check the spread of the disease, Moyale and Mandera have been placed under quarantine resulting in closure of markets and slaughter houses. Cases of endemic diseases varied across the region and included foot and mouth disease, CCPP, tick borne diseases, Helmenthiasis, pneumonia, trypanosomiasis, foot rot and lumpy skin disease. Marsabit reported plant poisoning in cattle resulting in 26 deaths out of 330 animals suspected to be infected. In Moyale, mortalities rates in small stock have increased marginally from 3% and 1% to 3.57% and 2.63% in goats and sheep respectively. The increased mortality in shoats is suspected to be caused by Nairobi fever disease and blood samples have been sent to Veterinary laboratories in Nairobi for confirmation. Measures have been put in place to check the spread of the diseases through active surveillance, vaccinations, awareness creation and closure of livestock sale yards.
Livestock prices have increased in all species except in Moyale and Marsabit where they have marginally declined. However, prices across the districts remain higher than the long term average. The upward trend in prices can be attributed to good body condition of the animals and the reluctance of households to sell their stock as they rebuild their herds. Though prices remain high the outbreak of RVF has impacted negatively on livestock sales subsequently reducing the household purchasing power. Figure 1.3 below shows the average cattle prices in Moyale. Cattle prices currently range between Kshs 10,000 to 12,000 across the cluster except in Moyale where cattle prices are approximately Kshs 7,500. See figure 1.3.