Started in 1986, the famous Kimalel goat auction in Baringo County, which was the brainchild of former president Daniel arap Moi, was aimed at improving livelihoods of the residents.
However, politics is threatening to derail the once lucrative initiative which would see over 8,000 goats sold in just one day, many of them through lots of bidding.
Some farmers are yet to be paid last year’s proceeds to the tune of more than Sh19 million.
The Nation has learnt that many politicians have been making bids for goats which they take months to pay for, dealing a blow to farmers who had expected to enjoy the end-year festive season with their families.
“Many of them order for goats yet they don’t have the capacity to pay at that particular time, just to please their political masters, making farmers wait for months before they get their dues,” a source told the Nation in confidence.
The Nation has also learnt that some prominent politicians who purchased goats during the annual cultural fair and goat auction in December 2019 are yet to to pay for them and owe farmers more than Sh4 million.
During the last auction, 1,749 goats were supplied for sale from all the constituencies in the county.
The farmers are now questioning the viability of the project which was aimed at uplifting their living standards.
In the past, they would go home assured of enjoying Christmas with their families using proceeds from the sale of goats.
Farmers from Baringo North, Tiaty and Baringo Central have questioned the criteria which the county government used to pay some of them and left out others.
“It is unfair to pay some farmers and leave out others yet they were relying on the same to pay school fees for their children and for other needs,” said Richard Chepchomei, a farmer from Chemoe in Baringo North.
Mr Chepchomei supplied 10 goats and he was expecting to be paid more than Sh96,000 after some deductions were made by the county government.
“Goat farming is our major source of livelihood and the county government has delayed paying for my 10 goats amounting to Sh96,000. I planned to use the money to pay school fees for my children,” Mr Chepchomei told the Nation.
“It is very unfair to pay some farmers and leave out others without a clear explanation. My children are now at home and I don’t have any money to pay for their fees. I supplied the goats for auction three months ago expecting that the proceeds would help me cater for my needs. Now I am stuck,” he added.
The livestock farmers are proposing that the county government enforces laws to bind those who default in payments so that they can be held liable.
During the auction, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto each purchased 400 goats for Sh8 million.
More than 658 farmers from the six sub-counties of Baringo who supplied goats for the annual event expected to be paid more than Sh16.5 million.
The county collected more than Sh1.2 million in revenue from the sale of goats which were retailing at Sh10,000 each.
Wesley Aengwo, a farmer from Bartabwa in Baringo North, lamented that he walked for more than 60 km with his 10 goats which were sold at the annual event, only to be disappointed by failure to get payment.
“Some of us come from the remote insecurity-prone areas where even getting food is a problem. I drove my goats on foot for more than 60 km to Kimalel, with the risk of being attacked by criminals on the way, in order to get money to provide for my family,” said Mr Aengwo.
“Three months down the line, the county government is yet to pay me yet other farmers have gotten their dues. We have followed up but we are being taken in circles,” added Mr Aengwo.
Baringo County Agriculture and Livestock Executive Thomas Nong’onop confirmed the delay but said unpaid farmers will receive their dues soon.
“It is true some farmers from Tiaty, Baringo North and Baringo Central have not been paid because of some technical problems but we are making arrangements to pay them by the end of next week. We have paid more than Sh12 million and we have pending payments of Sh4 million,” Mr Nong’onop told the Nation.
By the time President Moi relinquished power in 2002, more than Sh50 million had been raised from the sale of goats, sheep and cattle.