Drought-Stricken Kenyan Maasai Herders Are Forced To Sell Cattle For Almost Nothing
- Livestock is essential to the traditional Maasai way of life, serving as both the primary source of food and revenue as well as a sign of social standing. The drought in Kenya, along with neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, is at its worst in 40 years.
In addition to serving as the primary source of food and revenue for the Maasai people, livestock also serves as a symbol of social rank and a constant presence in their daily lives.
Kenya is going through its worst drought in the past 40 years, along with Ethiopia and Somalia, two neighboring countries.
This is because there haven’t been any rainy seasons for four years.
It is a sad sight for Kenya’s Maasai herders to see cows that are too weak to stand, have sores on their hides from resting on the ground, and have ribcages protruding from their sides due to the severe drought.
Livestock is essential to the traditional Maasai way of life, serving as both the primary source of food and revenue as well as a sign of social standing and a constant presence. Cows coexist with humans in enclosed circular spaces known as kraals.
With four consecutive rainy seasons failing to materialize, the drought in Kenya, along with neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, is at its worst in 40 years. This has wiped out cattle and crops in some parts and exacerbated the famine issue.
Jackson Sane, a Maasai pastoralist, stated, “This is the kind of scenario we have all found ourselves in, with emaciated livestock,” at a cattle market in the town of Ilbisil, south of Nairobi.
“The dark ones that were laying next to me were worth up to 60,000 or 65,000 shillings ($500–$530). Currently, they are only available for 1,500 Kenyan shillings ($12), “said he.
Due to a shortage of food, the animals at the market were so feeble that men had to hoist them into and out of cars like bulky packages.
According to cattle seller Joshua Kedoya, prices for both gasoline and corn meal have skyrocketed, while those for animals have drastically declined. We simply go to the market because we are in a terrible situation and have no other options.
Herder Ntyuyoto Sepeina pointed to cows munching on hay that had been bought from vendors at prices that were bare minimum.
“The drought has caused the majority of these cows to lose all of their calves. Even when we feed them in this way, we occasionally succeed in saving a few of them, but the vast majority of them pass away.”