NAIVASHA, Kenya- A chronology of events detailing the intensity and impact of drought in successful years has painted a grim picture of the future, necessitating a need for mitigative measures to be adopted, and more so to cushion the feed and fodder sector.
The sector is currently facing a crisis due to a widespread shortage of feed and fodder, due to the three C’s; climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
African Union- InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources has initiated an ambitious project dubbed Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) project, to help targeted African countries overcome the challenge.
RAFFS project officer Dr Sarah Ashanut Ossiya says the recent drought from late 2020 to 2022 and early 2023, “had the unprecedented feature of being the first with five consecutive rainy season failures, a climatic event not seen in 40 years, with massive loss of livestock and wildlife.”
By December 2022, Government authorities in Kenya said the drought had killed over 200 elephants, nearly 400 zebras, and more than 500 wildebeests among other several species.
In the Horn of Africa region, at least 8.9 million livestock worth over half a billion dollars were lost to the drought. Of those, more than 2 million were in Kenya.
“This outlook augurs a trend that future droughts might be worse,” Ossiya said.
She was speaking during a five-day workshop that has brought together experts from 6 countries, to discuss the current crisis and how nations can overcome- it through research-based mitigative measures.
The 2010-2011 drought, she said, claimed at least 250,000 lives.
What is the impact of the crisis?
She pointed out that many families and mostly the pastoralists have lost their livelihoods- with women in the rural areas and informal sector left more vulnerable.
The RAFFs project is designed to mobilize efforts that will, “bring the desired effect of addressing the immediate shortages. Inform and attract short-term increased investments to forestall future shortages of animal feeds and fodder .”
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