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Drought, cattle rustling affect livestock prices in Karamoja

Karimojong pastoralists with their animals at Nadunget cattle market in Moroto district on Monday.

Karamoja, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT  |  The persistent drought and resurgence of cattle rustling have affected the livestock market in the Karamoja region. The price of an animal weighing 100-kilograms has fallen from one million Shillings in November 2020, to 600,000 Shillings today.

The drop in animals prices in the region is due to shortage of grass and water and also rampant cattle raiding by the armed Karimojong warriors who are now forcing many people to sell their animals instead of keeping them in Kraals where they are raided by rustlers.

Patrick Lokol, one of the cattle traders in Moroto said the animal prices were high last year because they were fewer people interested in selling livestock unlike now where almost everyone wants to sale the animals due to insecurity coupled with the shortage of water and pasture.

Lokol said most of the animals in the market are badly emaciated; they are battling the stress of having no pasture, no water and not enough time to rest. According to Lokol, the only animal whose cost is not affected is the donkey because of its skin which Kenyans cross and buy-in Uganda at the cost of 700,000 Shillings.

Timothy Lokwang, another cattle trader said the prices of animals will be affected badly should the drought and cattle rustling continues. 

Tengei Mario, the production officer of Nakapiripirit District, said the current drought is the worst to happen in the region. He added that several animals have lost weight others have got miscarriages as a result of the stress of walking long distances in search of water and pastures and also running up and down when they are raided.

He, however, appeals to the locals not to rush to sell their livestock saying the situation will soon normalise. 

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