Mohamed Hussein’s Story – Pastoralist, Wajir Bor South
In Wajir Bor, a remote town about 91 kilometres from Wajir Town, animal diseases and long bouts of drought made pastoralists desperate for basic needs; food and water. The pastoralists remember that at their lives’ lowest moments, they turned to prayers, possibly their only option.
Pastoralists in Wajir County spend hours praying for their animals to get well and survive droughts. For these communities, animals are the main source of livelihood, so when diseases and drought strike, they are often distraught. Like hundreds of thousands of families in Wajir, Mohamed Hussein family also relied heavily on prayers to maintain their livelihood as there was little they could do about drought.
After multiple losses, Hussein saw it best to try and salvage the situation. The livestock were dying by the herds from easily treatable ailments such as pneumonia, diarrhea and constipation. Hussein, like other pastoralists began to dabble in veterinary drugs. Unfortunately, that meant he had to walk about 150 kilometers to Wajir town and back in order to access the drugs. Sadly, most of the time he would lose his herd after the effort. When he turned to buying drugs from hawkers nearby, these turned out to be counterfeit.
The establishment of Bismillahi Agrovet in 2016 could not have come at a better time. Hussein had lost most of his animals and the situation was open to getting worse.
Bismillahi Agrovet, an agent of Wajir Agrovet, improved access to quality affordable drugs to rural pastoralists in Wajir. In addition, they were trained on disease identification, drug administration and dosage and disease reporting and monitoring. The pastoralists also learnt management of sick animals through isolation and assimilation techniques.
Ali Maalim, the proprietor of Bismillahi Agrovet, manages to reach and give lessons to pastoralists by visiting them in their kraals to diagnose and administer drugs.
Sometimes when the pastoralists do not have money to purchase the drugs, he extends credit with an understanding that once they sell the animals, they can make payment.
Due to changes brought about by Ali in accessing quality drugs, Hussein has since adopted consistent use of the drugs and the health of his flock has significantly improved. In the past, he would sell his goats for a paltry Kshs. 1,500. This meant he would sell many animals just to meet his basic needs. However as recently as September 2018, he was able to fetch at least kshs.7, 500 per goat, an 80% percent increase. Better prices for pastoralists result from the newfound confidence that buyers have in high quality, healthy goats. Hussein can now expand his sales to butchery owners in Wajir Bor and beyond.