The national government is up scaling an off-take programme that involves the purchase and slaughter of livestock from pastoralist communities to mitigate against the current drought that has hit most Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mwangi Kiunjuri said because the livestock has been weakened by the drought, it would be imprudent to transport them to Nairobi because they might even die on the way.

On Saturday 100 heads of cattle will be slaughtered here in Ngaremara, 40 cows will be given to the local people while the remaining 60 carcasses will be given to neighbouring communities to mitigate against hunger,” said the CS

Kiunjuri who was presiding in an event where relief food was distributed to Turkana pastoralists living in Ngaremara ward in Isiolo North constituency further urged farmers to sell their cereals to the government in order to help mitigate against hunger.

“We have 21 million bags of maize in the country of which 1.3 million bags of maize are with the National Cereals and Produce Board.” He urged farmers to sell their maize to the government,” said the CS.

He said the country has enough maize to last the country till June, this year, and if the farmers are not ready to release the cereals to the government, there is no cause for alarm because the government has stopped food stuff export.

Kiunjuri said the feeding programme is one among many programmes that are ongoing among various ministries to mitigate against the drought situation in country.

The other programmes include; the off-take and hay provision by the Ministry of Agriculture, Malnutrition and other Health related cases being taken care of by the Ministry of Health while the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government is  in charge  of security due to conflicts expected due to livestock movement.

Kiunjuri further instructed county commissioners to ensure that the relief food distribution prioritises secondary schools to ensure that no school is closed due to lack of food.

He said the government will track the pastoralists to feed them, vaccinate their children and livestock besides registering them as voters to ensure they exercise their right to elect leaders of their choice.