HUNDREDS OF LIVESTOCK BRANDED AT THE KENYA-UGANDA BORDER

Nakitong’o, 10th May 2021– A week-long exercise of livestock branding targeting Lokipoto and Nakitong’o areas of Turkana West Sub-County has been completed.

Over 1600 livestock which included cattle and donkeys were branded by a joint team of officers drawn from the County Veterinary Services directorate, National Government and Lotus Kenya Action for Development organization (LOKADO).

The branding stock Act of 2012 and Veterinary Services Guideline 2014, outline the County Government’s role on Livestock Identification and Traceability systems (LITs) that include conducting livestock identification using approved identification systems such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs), branding and microchips.

Additional roles include data upload on livestock registration, veterinary interventions, test results and movement records to the central database. The National Government on its part is supposed to undertake registration and regulation of all livestock identification systems such as brands, RFIDs and radio tracking devices.

Veterinary Services Director Benson Longor thanked LOKADO for support and said the department plans to brand a larger number of livestock in future with unique Turkana mark that would ease identification. County Deputy Director for Veterinary Services Dr. Jane Akale said the process had been successful, and expressed optimism that it will set stage towards rollout of more livestock branding not only in Turkana West but also to other parts of the County.

During the branding exercise planning meeting in Lodwar few weeks ago, Lotus Kenya Action for Development organization (LOKADO) Chief Executive Officer Augustine Kai assured his organization support to implement the program just as it has done on peace initiatives along the Kenya-Uganda border.

FOUR MILLION LIVESTOCK AT RISK OF STARVATION DUE TO DROUGHT

Reports from the department of Livestock Production and stakeholders indicate that approximately 4,193,462 goats and sheep are at  risk of being affected by the prolonged drought being experienced in the county.

County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun has yesterday  in Lodwar chaired a stakeholders meeting that brought together officials from different County departments and their colleagues from Non-Governmental organizations.

The meeting was convened to discuss measures and strategies of resource mobilization to intervene on the ravaging drought effects that have a negative impact to source of livelihoods to the people in the County. “Drought effects have progressively worsened as the county experience delayed onset of March-April-May rains. Generally, the whole county is at alarm phase, except for some pockets in the agro pastoral livelihood zones that seem to exhibit the alert phase indicators though rapidly worsening,” the report says.

In his opening remarks, CECM Aemun described the drought situation as alarming,
said that the County Government is planning to have supplementary feeds and slaughter off-take that will help pastoralists cushion their animals against effects of drought. On the directorate of Livestock Production, Aemun said he intends to mobilize financial resources from its budget as well as source support from other willing partners to procure about 400 tonnes of supplementary feeds to target an approximately 4,000 households and 100,000 shoats countywide.

Acting Director for Livestock Production Bobby Ewoi said that other planned interventions include slaughter off-take or destocking of approximately, 5,000 shoats that each will cost Ksh. 4,000 to benefit 2,500 households.

While acknowledging past partners intervention support on mitigating disasters, CECM Aemun regretted that the prolonged drought had forced herders to migrate to new areas in search of water and pasture, making them vulnerable to both diseases, hunger and security risk.

County Chief Officer for Fisheries, Livestock and Veterinary Services Abdullahi Yusuf and Directors Dr. Benson Longor (Veterinary Services) and  Charles Ekai (Resource Mobilization) attended the brief meeting that was held in adherence to the Ministry of Health regulation on COVID-19.

Lakezone,Kaeris, Kaaleng/Kaikor and Lapur Wards in Turkana North as well as Kerio,Kalokol and Kangathota areas in Turkana Central have been identified by stakeholders as some of most affected.

The report also adds Kalapata and Lokichar in Turkana South and Katilia and Kochodin areas in Turkana East in the list of areas  that require urgent intervention. Loima and Lopur Wards have also been earmarked as drought hard-hit areas in Loima and Turkana West Sub-Counties respectively.

LET’S CONSERVE OUR LOCAL TREE SPECIES – CEC EMORU

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources George Emoru called for the sensitisation of Turkana residents to conserve and preserve the local tree species during this year’s marking of the International Day of Forests (IDF) held in Lokichoggio, Turkana West Sub-county.

Speaking at Hannah Emuriakin Primary School, where a tree planting ceremony was held, CEC Emoru said that was also equally important to plant trees especially now that the world is ravaged by climate change.

“Turkana used to get rain at a certain month but now the pattern has changed. We have damaged our environment by cutting trees and burning charcoal which has contributed to the decrease of tree cover,” he said.

He added that in preserving the local tree species communities can utilise proposis for socio-development like burning it for charcoal, building homes, sale of firewood and making feeds.

One of the main stakeholders, Horn of Africa Environment Network working through South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO) led by its Director John Kamanga said that the only way to save the world from climate change is by the simple action of planting more trees. SORALO as part of the Environmental resilience project will in future be entering into an MoU with the County Government of Turkana to jointly implement conservation of wildlife and rangeland programs.

On her part of Deputy Director of Natural Resources, Pauline Ngoli Pusiye, said that county government is committed to increasing tree cover now that dryland forestry is fully devolved.

“It is the responsibility of each one of us, governments, churches to ensure that we participate to restore forests through campaigns and planting and conserving trees. Let’s us be ambassadors and take that message to our communities in order to increase our forest cover,” said the CEC.

Also presents and who spoke on the importance of planting trees and conserving the environment were Joshua Napoco Ekitela (Sub-county Admin. – Turkana West), Hellen Nakaru (Deputy Director Tourism), Dr. Edward Mengich (Assistant Director – Kefri, Lodwar), Dr Peter Edome (Dean – School of Science and Technology, Turkana University College) and Sheikh Yusuf Ali Aremons (Chair of Turkana Inter-religious Council).

The other participating stakeholders included Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Kenya Forestry Service and Mercy Corps. Approximately 1500 tree seedlings were distributed and planted to mark the day; celebrated every year on the 21st March.

GOVERNMENT TO SOURCE PARTNERS SUPPORT ON CLEARENCE OF PROSOPIS

The County Government will engage different development partners to seek support to tame increased farm invasion by Prosopis juliflora which has frustrated Government’s efforts to spur food production ,County Executive for Agriculture Philip Ebei Aemun has said.

He said that similar partnership with World Food Programme has paid off in several irrigation schemes in Loima Sub-County.

CEC Aemun decried that the invasion of irrigation schemes by Prosopis had negatively affected farming activities in Turkana making it hard for farmers to engage in large scale farming especially for farms situated along the river,with good soil for crop production.

The County Executive was speaking today at Morulem when he separately met and interacted with farmers of Morulem and Lotubae irrigation schemes in Lokori-Kochodin ward,Turkana East Sub-County.

He assured farmers of Government commitment to improve farm infrastructure including the river protection work along R.Kerio,provision of seeds ,and tractors to help in ploughing farm land ahead of the planting season.

County Engineers will soon visit the site to assess the situation of the dykes, and draw a new design for River protection works ,now that the river seems to have changed the course.

CEC Aemun who is in a working tour of Turkana East following Governor Nanok’ last year stakeholders meeting direction for a follow up of development projects by Senior Government Officers,called for prioritization of sorghum and groundnuts growing,because of its ready market availability.

County Director for Agriculture Paul Lokone said that his docket through the Agri-business directorate would connect farmers to potential buyers to enable them sell their produce to generate income.

He added that they will provide technical guidance on best seeds varieties that fits the Turkana soil.

The team also met enumerators who were recently recruited to register farmers who will benefit from e-voucher program that’s being supported by the National Government’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The e-vochoure system ,which is being done in 25 counties including Turkana is intended to support farmers with inputs through the agro-vets . The Government will cater for 40% of the cost ,and rest will be shouldered by the registered farmers.

It will be undertaken in Kaputir and Lokori-Kochodin wards of Turkana South and Turkana East Sub-counties respectively.

CEC Aemun emphasized on the need by the team from the National Government to do more sensitization to farmers on farm inputs cost-sharing plan ,to manage expectations of the project as well as its sustainability.

He noted that priorities of selected counties are different hence the need to strengthen engagement with benefiting farmers.

Morulem irrigation scheme chairman Philip Esinyen called for mechanical and farm inputs support from the County Government towards their planned planting of sorghum on more than 400 acres of farm as well as milling of the sorghum crop, before its release to the market this year.

Also present were staff from Turkana East led by Sub-County Administrator Reuben Eleo.

TURKANA COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR ELIMNATION VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Lodwar, 25th November 2020— County Chief Officer for Gender and Youth Affairs Michael Eregae today presided over commemoration of International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and launch of 16 days of activism against Gender-based violence at California Market grounds, Turkana Central Sub-County.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.It is celebrated annually   to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence.

In a speech read on her behalf, County executive committee member for the Ministry of Trade, Gender and youth affairs Esther Lokwei said that the 16 days of activism campaign wasn’t onky aimed at raising awareness around the rights of women and girls, but also at changing the cultural attitude of placing women as inferior to the male gender.

She noted that the department will work closely with gender stakeholders and civil societies to roll out campaigns on prevention emphasized that this education campaign and awareness on gender-based violence in Turkana.

She noted of progress made towards eliminating the vice but acknowledged of existing violence like sexual ones that had a negative health impact to girls in learning institutions.

Kanamkemer MCA James Ikeny said that violence had greatly increased since the onset of COVID-19 in march and called for scaling of awareness on the vice while his Township counterpart regretted thats many cases of abuse against women and girls in the society have widely remain unreported.

CEC AEMUN FLAGS OFF SUPPLEMENTARY LIVESTOCK FEEDS FOR TURKANA NORTH

Lodwar, 25 November 2020—County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun today at Mifugo Complex flagged off vehicles carrying the supplementary Livestock feeds  that had been donated by World Relief Organization.

The intervention is  meant to protect the young ones, lactating nannies and pregnant ones from starvation and lack of key nutrients to support important body functions.

Tens of  household in Lapur and Lake zone wards will benefit from distribution of 27.5 metric tonnes of range cubes and targeted vaccination of  livestock vaccination that targets 550 households in Turkana North sub-county.

Areas selected for feeds distribution include Riokomor,Nachukui and Loarengak in Lakezone while Kaaleng,Kachoda and Karebur are the considered sites for Lapur ward.

In his remarks,CEC Aemun said that the distribution and prepositioning  of feeds to strategic areas was meant to cushion the breeding herd against death due to starvation resulted by inadequate feeds availability.

He thanked the World Relief Organization for the support that includes budgeted consultancy for drafting of Turkana County Livestock disease control policy and bill that will guide operation of diseases surveillance and response within the county.

Once it becomes law,it will entrech the roles and responsibilities of community disease reporters in livestock disease surveillance in Turkana.

On looming second wave of desert locust invasion,CEC Aemun called for vigilance and activation of surveillance tools from both the Government and development partners to avert negative socio-economic impact similar to the one experienced this year.

County Chief Officer for Fisheries,Livestock Production and Veterinary services Abdullahi Yussuf said distribution is being done at the right time  with consideration being given on drought had-hit areas and said that   additional feeds would be provided by the County Government and livestock partners.

County Director for World Relief Elias Kamau said that they will continue partnering with the County Government on enhancing pastoralist livelihoods programs on areas of economic and social importance.

This programs will include cross-breeding that targets improve increase productivity through introduction of gala goats.

County Director for Livestock Production Bobby Ekadon said other places had not benefited  factored in the next distribution plan while his veterinary services counterpart Dr. Benson Longor stated that the program will cover vaccination and deworming of more than 12000 goats and sheep.

Also present were County Director for Fisheries Robert Kibunja,Administration Deputy Director Geoffrey Apedor and several staff from the Pastoral Economy department and Fisheries.

FARMERS TO BENEFIT FROM A SH7.9MILLION COUNTY, WFP PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

Lodwar, 23rd November 2020— Farmers from seven irrigation scheme are set to benefit from a Sh7.9 million shillings support program thats meant to revive farms that had stalled in several parts of Loima sub-county.

County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun together with officials from World Food Programme today met with farmers, and inspected ongoing rehabilitation and bush clearing of Kolioro irrigation scheme that had been affected by prosopis.

In his remarks, CEC Aemun said that the partnership program which will benefit 3500 farmers, was meant to create resilience and get them back to their farms after destruction by flood waters and growth of mathenge that had prevented them from engaging in any farming.

The County Government and WFP under the Sustainable Food System Program have embarked on a flood-proofing of farms that were affected by flood waters in 2019 and early this year.

The County Executive, while assuring of support through distribution of certified seeds for planting and a tractor for ploughing once, insisted on the need by farmers to own development projects initiated to for realization of target and avoid wastage of funds.

He emphasized on need to grow of drought resistant crops such as sorghum that he said can withstand harsh weather condition but acknowledged of its market demand that can be sourced within and outside Turkana.

The scope of the work includes desilting of canals, bush clearing, construction of insitu rainwater harvesting structures,ploughing of farms as well as repair of canal intakes and primary canals,among others.

WFP’s food systems engineer Stephen Maingi stated quality job will be done and that implementation of the program will be done within the stipulated time-line

The first phase of the program that will include ploughing of 500 acres of farm will cover Nadapal, Kolioro, Nanyee, Kalemunyang/Kotela, Kangalita, Moruese and Napeikar in Loima Sub-Counties.

The second phase will begin next year and targets eight small irrigation schemes in Turkana South as well as six from Turkana Central Sub-County.

COMMUNITY RECEIVE GALLA GOATS IN KAALENG

Kaaleng, 10th November 2020— County Chief Officer for Fisheries,Livestock Production and Veterinary Services Abdullahi Yusuf yesterday led a team from department of Pastoral Economy and GIZ-GFA organization in distribution of galla bucks to several identified groups at Kaaleng area of Kaaleng/Kaikor ward.

In his remarks,CCO Abdullahi said that distribution of the new male goat breed was meant to increase production and productivity of livestock in Turkana that he said had been affected through inbreeding by indigenous breed of goats.

He stated that male breeds will catalyze livestock growth rate,change the ability to reproduce as well as increase milk production rate.

GIZ-GFA organization procured 100 gala bucks from Marsabit that have now been distributed to 11 groups,where 6 group in Kaaleng benefited while the remaining were distributed to other 5 groups in Nakinomet.

While calling for accountability and good management of the goats, CCO Abdullahi said that the department will continue working with stakeholders to create an enabling environment for pastoralist,enhance institutional efficiency and effectiveness of livestock development through collaboration.

CCO Abdullahi said that routine targeted vaccination and supportive treatment of livestock against diseases will continue to boost animal health in the region so that they can fetch better prizes even at the market.

County Director for Livestock Production Bobby Ekadon assured that the County Government will offer expertise on the galla goats through its technical officers, and further revealed plans to distribute supplementary livestock feeds through a collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO)

GFA-GIZ technical advisor Frank Njogu said that the coordial relationship and cooperation with the County Government had boosted it’s efforts on implementing the organization activities in Turkana

Also present were Livestock Marketing Deputy Director Ernest Anzeze,Turkana North Sub-County Veterinary Officer John Sang and Livestock Production Officer John Ngasike.

JOINT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OF THE SPATIAL PLANS FOR THE 8 PLANNED TOWNS IN TURKANA COUNTY.

The County Department of Lands, Energy, Housing and Urban Areas Management in collaboration with the County Assembly of Turkana’s Sectoral committee on Lands, Energy, Housing and Urban Areas Management conducted public participation on Integrated Strategic Urban Development plans for 8 towns being Kakuma, Lokichar, Lokichoggio, Lowarengak, Lorugum, Kalokol, Lokori and Lokitaung. The activity has been jointly supported by FAO in collaboration with the County Department of Lands, Energy, Housing and Urban Areas Management.

This exercise will culminate in the discussion and subsequent approval o by the Turkana County Assembly which will now unlock the process of registration, adjudication and survey for tittles in the urban areas starting with Lodwar Municipality.

HOUSEHOLDS TO BENEFIT FROM SUPPLEMENTARY LIVESTOCK FEEDS

Lodwar, 23rd September— Over 300 livestock farmers in Turkana South,Loima and Turkana Central Sub-County who keep Dairy goats (Toggenburg) will benefit from a supplementary livestock feeds distribution programme that will be undertaken by the County Department of Livestock Production in partnership with  Frontier Children Development Organization.

Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries County Executive Philip Aemun has said that prepositioning of the Livestock feeds to sub-county reserve stores and distribution to dairy goats breeders in Angarabat and Lokapel areas  of Turkana South and KanamKemer ward in Turkana Central is meant to cushion the livestock against death due to starvation because of limited feeds and other effects like desert Locust infestation that destroyed vegetation.

Other places that will benefit from phase one of livestock supplementary feeds distribution includes Kalemnyang in Lobei/Kotaruk ward and Kekorongole in Turkwell ward of Loima Sub-County.

County Executive spoke this afternoon in Lodwar when he flagged off vehicles carrying Livestock feeds to sub-counties reserve stores for prepositioning. He emphasized on the need by households, especially those living in urban areas to keep the toggenburg goats that he said will improve households nutrition through dairy milk.

Additionally, CEC Aemun said that that distribution of the feeds will improve breeding and young stock since they are high feeders,reduce food insecurity and improve beneficiaries purchasing power through improved incomes realized from sales of surplus milk and health animals.

The County Government in FY2019/20 procured a total of 3148bags of range cubes packed in 50Kg bags. 2578 bags of Livestock feeds meant for Turkana North, Turkana Central, Kibish, Loima and Turkana Central have been stored here in the Lodwar Feeds Reserve Store while 570 bags meant for Turkana South and East Sub-Counties have been stored in Lokichar Strategic Feed Store.

CEC Aemun said apart from the feeds procured by the County Government,other partners involved in the desert locusts interventions are planning to procure supplementary feeds to cushion livestock keepers against adverse effects of pasture inadequacy resulting from desert locust invasion.

County Chief Officer for Fisheries, Livestock Production and Veterinary Services Abdullahi Yussuf said that additional intervention include plans upscale of pasture production, rangelands rehabilitation and management as well as livelihoods diversification activities such as poultry and bee keeping.

CO thanked partner organization supporting feeds distribution and directed that the supplementary feeds reach the targeted beneficiaries.

The County Livestock Production department will promote goat dairy farming to increase production and profitability to livestock farmers in Turkana.

While noting of financial and resources challenges,County Director for Livestock Production Bobby Ekadon said that the department is waiting for release of funds from the National Government so as to cover had-hit drought hotspots areas like Kalapata,Kerio Delta,Lakezone, Kalokol and Kaeris wards that are currently constrained in terms of feeds pasture availability.

Director Ekadon added that second phase which  will begin next week will be done through a collaboration under the Omo Delta program through which TUPADO will facilitate ferrying of feeds to Turkana North & Kibish while LOKADO will support prepositioning of feeds to Turkana West Sub-County.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) intends to support the directorate with 5000 bags of range cubes as a post locust recovery program to cushion the affected livestock species all-over the county.

In this financial year,the County Government has earmarked to construct four saleyards at Nanam,Nakalale,Kalapata and Napusimoru.

Frontier Children Development Organization which is a local Non-Governmental Organization affiliated with Child Fund has facilitated livestock production staff who will be key in distribution of the feeds to the targeted beneficiaries.

Directors Benson Longor(Veterinary Services) and Robert Kibunja (Fisheries) as well staff from the Pastoral Economy and Fisheries department attended the brief ceremony held at Mifugo Complex.

Frontier Children Development Organization Sponsor Relation Coordinator John Esibitar was also present.