National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has warned that Baringo is staring at a possible drought situation after experiencing early warning signs.

NDMA Coordinator for Baringo Bethwel Wafula stated that Mogotio, Tiaty East and West sub counties have started experiencing a very extreme pasture deficit with livestock deaths, a situation he says began in mid-March.

Baringo Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony addressing the media at his office in Kabarnet town while commenting on drought situation in the county. Photo by Jebichii Chepkwony

Wafula was speaking at Marigat office store during a distribution exercise of 3, 600 bags of animal products to Tiaty Sub County where he blamed the progressive drought on inadequate rains.

“As an institution we are giving out the early warning information on time to both National and County governments with other stakeholders doing mitigation in the area so that they can adequately prepare for the dry spell,” he explained.

The NDMA Coordinator revealed that some 4, 500 drought pellets have been donated to the county by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) during the months of February and March to cushion livestock farmers from the looming drought.

Wafula noted that despite the donations, vulnerable communities and households have continued to suffer.

“We have developed our response strategies and towards this, we have been able to support water trucking in schools and health institutions. Given that schools have been closed however it serves as centres of access to households,” said the coordinator.

He revealed that the drought situation in the vast county has even forced farmers to make calls to them appealing for food for their livestock.

The NDMA official appealed to the county government and other partners to plan for distribution of different types of feeds like hay to reach all farmers soonest. He pointed out that due to the dire situation, farmers have started consuming some of their animals which have died due to drought.

Baringo County Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony acknowledged that the situation has deteriorated for the past four months with extremes in Tiaty, Mogotio, Baringo South, North and the lower parts of Baringo Central.

However, Chepkwony said that the county administration has put in place urgent measures to safeguard residents and their livestock from adverse effects of the drought.

He appealed to the National government to chip in with food aid to curb the worsening situation after earlier restocked stores were used up.

“The county stores which were restocked in January with 1, 000 bags of maize and beans are now depleted. We are left anticipating the recent consignment with 500 bags of maize and 300 bags of beans which we hope will for a while cushion the situation,” he added.

Chepkwony also stated that emergency water trucking is needed, noting that people are facing water shortage in many parts of the county because the shallow wells and other temporary sources have with time completely dried up.

The deputy governor, while appreciating support from other organizations like NDMA which has already distributed animal feeds in Tiaty region, called for more partners to come on board to salvage the situation before it deteriorates.

By Jebichii Chepkwony and Faith Lagat