Lamu residents critize slaughter program saying meat alone is not enough

The carcass of a dead cow in Lamu county PHOTO COURTESY

Lamu,KENYA:Residents in drought-stricken areas in Lamu County have criticized the de-stocking slaughter program and distribution of meat to the residents saying the meat alone is not enough to meet their hunger needs.

On Tuesday this week, the national government in conjunction with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), the Ministry of Agriculture and the County Government of Lamu launched a Sh 50 million
de-stocking slaughter exercise targeting to purchase at least 1000 heads of livestock from herders in all villages hard hit by drought in Lamu.

The exercise is meant to reduce pressure on pasture lands and water and also to save the herder community of the losses encountered as livestock continue to perish in their numbers due to the ravaging drought in the

It was also agreed that all the meat from the slaughtered cows would  be distributed to residents facing hunger and starvation all over Lamu County.

But speaking to journalists at Moa, Dide Waride, Pangani and Lake Amu areas on Thursday, the residents urged the government to instead bring them relief food aid to add onto the meat.

“The meat alone is not enough. We need other accompanying foods like maize, rice and beans. How can you eat meat three times a day, just plain meat? We need accompanying foods like maize, rice and beans. We
also need special foods and supplements for babies who cannot eat all These hard stuff,” said Mr Sharif Bokore of Moa village.

The residents also suggested for a bigger allocation of the cash set aside for the de-stocking slaughter program to be diverted into buying relief food to assist them.

“Sh 50 million is much money that should also be directed into buying maize, rice and beans to be distributed as relief food to us,” said Mrs Jane Wasike.

Addressing journalists however, Lamu County commissioner Mr Joseph Kanyiri said both the de-stocking slaughter and commercial off take programs were not meant to destruct relief food aid distribution from
the government but rather to reinforce it.

He called for patience on the part of the residents, saying that the government had already distributed relief food to locals in various parts of Lamu last week and that another consignment of food was also expected by early next week.

“In fact what we are doing is part of the government initiative to assist locals from hunger stricken areas. The meat is distributed to the locals free of charge to meet their nutritional needs this drought season. We have done what Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri told us to do when he toured this region to distribute relief food to the residents,” said Mr Kanyiri.

He added, “Residents should rest assured that relief food distribution will continue. Apart from the 4000 bags of rice and beans distributed to residents at Poromoko, Moa, Pate and Kizingitini last week, we are also
expecting another 500 bags of maize next week to add to what locals have already received.”

According to a recent report from NDMA, over 70,000 residents and more than 300,000 heads of livestock are facing starvation in the entire Lamu County.