The county government of Homa Bay is promoting the sale of domestic animals in markets to control livestock theft and increase revenue collection.
The devolved unit through the department of Agriculture and Livestock has begun reviving markets that were closed down some years back to encourage farmers to sell their animals through the right channel.
Agriculture Executive Aguko Juma recently opened Ragwe animal market in Rachuonyo South Sub-county to enable farmers from Kasipul, Karachuonyo and Rangwe to have a central place where they can sell their animals.
Homa Bay County now has 29 animal markets where farmers and other traders can either buy or sell animals.
In the past, those who wanted to sell cows, goats or sheep would walk in villages with their animals as they looked for buyers.
Plans are underway to increase the number of animal markets.
Mr Juma said his department is discouraging the trade of animals within homesteads as it promotes animal theft.
“At the market, records of traders selling animals will be noted down by market officials. The records which include a brief description of the animal and their number is also noted down to help in tracking down stolen livestock,” Mr Juma said.
Animal theft is limited in the county. Just a few isolated cases have been reported.
Mr Juma however said they want to deal with all cases of animals being reported missing.
Besides promoting safe business, operating animal markets will also enable the county government to increase the revenue it collects.
Traders are required to pay at least Sh 100 to the county government for every animal taken to the market.
Mr Juma said the devolved unit should not lose money when traders abscond going to the market.
“I encourage animal farmers to increase the number of hours they stay at the market, at least eight hours will be good. They will encourage market expansion if they stay longer within the trading centres,” the executive said.
Ragwe market chairman Patrick Otieno and Evance Ndege, a trader, appealed to the county government of Homa Bay to consider improving the environment around markets.
MrOteno said garbage collection should be done periodically and often to make markets clean.
Meanwhile Mr Ndege asked the devolved unit to improve security around market areas to encourage more investments.