Livestock prices in Mwingi dip due to lack of water and pasture

Livestock prices in Mwingi have dipped drastically due to shortage of pasture and water for the animals.

Speaking to Kenya News Agency in Mwingi on Tuesday, Daniel Kiteme, a livestock trader in the town said that most of the animals on sale were emaciated and thus fetched low prices.

In the last two weeks, the price of a bull fetched between Sh 50,000 to Sh 20,000. Due to the prolonged dry spell, the prices have plummeted to Sh 35,000 and Sh 13,500 per bull, said Kiteme.

He said that livestock rearing is one of the predominant economic activity and source of livelihoods among rural dwelling households in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs).

Changing climatic conditions with the unpredictable weather patterns, rangeland degradation and mismanagement directly affects feed availability, lamented Kiteme.

He noted that most areas of Mwingi were either bare or heavily infested with invasive bush species with very minimal desirable forage species for livestock.

Kiteme singled out the collapse of traditional land management practices due to dynamics land use, climate change and socio-economic patterns that have affected livestock farming in the area.

Despite the availability of various knowledge channels, he observed that most rural farmers did not have access to information on good agricultural practices to enhance pasture and fodder production.

Another livestock farmer, Paul Mutisya, said that poor nutrition of livestock coupled with lack of feed availability is a threat to improving livestock productivity.

Frequency of drought has direct effect on natural pastures as well as fodders which are in long term depleted, said Mutisya.

There is need to empower communities in these areas to deal with the changing climatic and weather conditions through research on drought tolerant pasture and fodder varieties for increased livestock productivity, noted Mutisya.

Source: Kenya News Agency