USAID, in conjunction with the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC), has initiated an US$84,000 livestock identification project in northern Kenya to curb cattle theft
Implemented by a local firm, Garden Veterinary Services Limited, the project aims at identifying and tracking cattle using tamper-proof ear tags.
“Under the Livestock Identification and Traceability System, 10,000 cattle in Turkana county will be fitted with the ear tags,” said project consultant Dr. Joseph Mugachi.
KLMC plans to use the programme to reduce cattle theft, which will further lead to curbing poverty. It will also help in tracking cattle and their products from birth to processing, marketing and consumption.
The tags will have the country code for Kenya (KE), the county code and a six-digit identification number unique to each animal. This information is then stored in a database, making it easy to trace animals in case they get stolen or lost.
In northern Kenya, communities such as Samburu, Pokot, Borana and Turkana have often been in conflict brought about by the frequent cattle thefts in the region. Cross-border conflicts involving the Karamanjong along the Kenya-Uganda border and Toposa on the Ethiopia border have also been caused by livestock theft.