The on going drought in Kenya continues to have devastating effects on human, wildlife and livestock populations in Laikipia. In an effort to bring temporary relief for the County’s livestock, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) in Laikipia, together with LWF and Borana, Lolldaiga and Ol Jogi conservancies began distributing cattle food supplements to cows from pastoralist communities in their neighbourhoods in order to ease the effects of the drought on their breeding cattle. You will recall that this plan was part of an on going negotiation and planning exercise supported by conservancies, group ranches, LWF and the NDMA that started in September 2016.
NDMA and LWF delivered approximately 50,000kgs (1,000 bags) of livestock food supplements in March 2017 to communities that have been hit hardest by the drought. This represented the first drought relief consignment and more is expected in April.
The drought relief scheme has been blessed by the group ranch chairs, and local authorities. The livestock benefitting from this forms the basis of a “breeding herd”. Selection of cows has been carried out by grazing committees and has been considered by communities to be fair and equitable. Both ranchers and group ranches have agreed on the number of community livestock that enter the ranch to be supported by the food supplements. These cows on the ranch are protected, fed, and monitored with the help of the ranch staff and the community grazing committees. The food supplements were delivered with the help of NDMA to each ranch, and the food supplements continue to be monitored by the same team.
“This simple programme is designed to help get us through the worst of the drought, build bridges in neighbourhoods that are stressed, and to ensure the best of our cows survive. We are grateful to Kenya’s military who offered transport, which is always a challenge when distributing such relief commodities”, says Matthew Chana, LWF’s Rangeland Programme Manager.
Chana accompanied NDMA Officials to one of the pastoralist community’s in Lolldaiga, and who were the beneficiaries of the livestock feed. The ranch has accommodated more than 1,500 cattle during this stressful time.
The people benefitting neighbour Lolldaiga ranch. Together with ranch staff, they made feeding troughs, and designed a very effective way to feed their cows by dividing them in shifts of 10 cows per trough to avoid overcrowding.
Josphat Lekuye from the Makurian Community had this to say; “this feed has really helped in maintaining and improving the health condition of our cows. Our cows now have enough water from the ranch dam as well”.
Moses Saloni, another pastoralist from the same community added, “We just want to thank the government through NDMA and LWF for facilitating this effort. We would like, however, to ask for more feed because there are so many more animals that will die if the feed is not increased”.
Borana and Ol Jogi Conservancies continue to accommodate neighbours and their livestock from close-by group ranches since August 2016. Conservancies are stretching their resources to make ranching work for them, their cows as well as wildlife many of which are Kenya’s Iconic Species. Ol Pejeta is another conservancy accommodating almost 2000 community cows, but without the NDMA assistance.
These are not easy times. LWF will continue to support this effort and will keep you updated.