Ms. Batula Mohamed, a resident of Karu Location in Habaswein, Wajir County, was on the verge of despair as she watched the body condition of her cattle deteriorate. Drought had depleted all available pasture, wreaking havoc in her village. The mother of five had already lost four cows in a span of two months and the remaining three were too feeble to stand on their own. The Subcounty had not received any rainfall in five months thus the depletion of pasture. Her three school-going children had missed most of previous term’s work as the situation required them to venture farther out with the livestock in search of pasture.
And as the situation got more dire, she was forced to purchase a 50kg bag of maize at a cost of Ksh 2,000, which she would boil to feed the cows. This would only last three days, taking a heavy toll on the single mother as she was often conflicted between providing food for her family and her treasured cattle. The upside to feeding the cattle was the prospects of milk – a source of much-needed protein for her family.
Ms. Batula could not hide her joy when she received livestock supplementary feeds from the NDMA. She had literally been thrown a lifeline.
Highly nutritious feeds
Being a second-time beneficiary of the livestock supplementary feeds (drought pellets), she knows just how effective the feeds are. The highly nutritious feeds are produced in the form of drought pellets that supplement the pasture available. They provide the extra protein and energy needed to maintain livestock weight and condition, mainly targeting livestock left behind as bigger herds migrate in search of pasture. These herds provide milk for family members who remain at home, especially children, women, and the elderly.
By mid-October, NDMA had allocated about 75,000 bags (50kgs) of livestock feeds to Wajir, Samburu, Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera, and Lamu counties to cushion pastoralists’ livelihoods.
Fifty metres away from Ms. Batula's home, we meet a devastated Abdi Ahmed, who said he had already lost 17 of his 30 cattle in a month. All his six children no longer went to school as they were required to tend to livestock - mainly searching for pasture. He was optimistic that the feeds he had received would save his frail animals and they would return to productivity.
President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought ravaging at least 10 Arid and Semi-arid (ASAL) counties, and leaving more than 2 million people in need of food assistance, a national disaster. NDMA with support from the European Union has been disbursing drought contingency funds to affected counties to support response interventions. By Mid-October, the Authority had disbursed more than Ksh 300 million to 12 ASAL counties, among
them is Wajir.