Since time in memorial, the Maasai community has been known to invest in large herds of livestock, mainly cattle and goats. The livestock openly grazes across the expansive Maasai Mara basin, exposing them to the risk of attracting parasites such a ticks, mites, lice, face flies among other external parasites. In Enonkishu conservancy which is within the middle Mara basin, the concerns by farmers on how to undertake parasite control are no different with other conservancies. Commonly, farmers prefer using a cattle dip as an external parasite control means, which ensures that the entire cow is immersed through the pesticide solution.
According to Nicholas Nampaso one of the landowners in Enonkishu, the conservancy last had a functional cattle dip back in 1998. The breakdown of the only cattle dip in the area that serves hundred of cattle heads, meant that farmers had to seek alternative ways to control these external parasites. They resulted to using knapsack sprayers which was tedious and time consuming. On the other hand, Mara beef, a partner to the conservancy which is also located within Enonkishu has a walkthrough spray race. This was the other option for farmers would utilize from time to time. However, this meant that livestock had to be walked for long distances to the spray race as Mara Beef is located at the border of the area. Such livestock movement means that the animals end up using more energy to just walk to and from the spray race, in return leading to reduced rates of weight gain for the livestock which equates to lower profit margins for the farmers. It would also mean that the farmers would waste a lot of time taking their cattle to the spay race instead of utilizing such time in other gainful economic activities or other duties.
Cattle dip entrance ( Before and after images)
To address this, the MaMaSe programme in collaboration with farmers and landowners within Enonkishu has provided financial support toward renovation of the cattle dip. Thorough cleaning was undertaken on the dip to remove the accumulated waste water and other unwanted materials. A wooden crush was also built around the dip on either sides of the dip which would serve as the standing bays. Water inlets were also constructed and all the outlet channels worked on. All the leakages were repaired and the once unusable cattle dip got a new facelift.
The inauguration of the cattle dip brought a euphoric feeling among the land owners as evident in their expression. Six hundred and forty seven cattle were dipped to mark the re-opening of the cattle dip. Going forward, the farmers will manage the dip among themselves. For now, their plan is to dip their livestock twice per month.
Renovated cattle dip in use