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Cart still popular in Meru

03 April 2012, 13:14 Tony Karomo

Farmers in Imenti North district are still popular with the donkey or bull pulled carts in transporting their produce from the shamba to towns, even at this 21st century.

The carts are a usual sight in Meru and Nkubu towns, especially in market days and in the remote areas of the Mount Kenya regions, where they are mainly used for transport.

In Meru town for instance, one is bound to meet a trail of donkey- carts moving in a stagger either pulling behind an unbearable weight of loaded produce which from its sight it would impossible for humans to move an inch or to be properly arranged in a vehicle for shipment.

That is one advantage of the cart-it can ship any irregular load., This mode of require no fuel costs, requires no skills and does well in weather roads of the rural areas where vehicles cannot fare during rainy seasons.

The cart popularity in the remote and rural areas has been maintained by the availability of the animals and animal feeds at anytime where vehicles would take time to go for fuel stations, let alone reach the areas.

This ancient mode of transport has its manpower from the animals rather than those who own them, and it’s also relatively low compared to use of vehicles. Nearly every farmer in the rural areas owns at least two carts and two bulls/ donkeys in their thresholds.

The low maintenance cost has also contributed to it excelling as it is mainly made of wood which is available in the areas. However, it has a short life which is characterized by frequent breakage of the wood yokes when subjected to extreme bulk.

Nevertheless, this easy mode of transport comes with its vices; the usual cruelty towards donkeys in particular from the owners, lack of water and food which are a subject to The Prevention to Cruelty of Animals ACT.

It is estimated that close to 30 percent of donkeys in drought-prone districts of Northern, Eastern and Coastal regions starve to death due to scarcity of water and pasture about every 3 years. This indicates the adverse effects malnutrition can have on the donkeys and more so the strenuously working lot.

Of essence, safeguarding the life of these animals may lead to an extended service, though outdated with the technology, especially in the remote areas where modernity is yet to reach.

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