Tag Archive: Support

The Turkana community is group of people inhabiting northwest regions of Kenya. These people are mostly nomadic pastoralists who depend on cattle keeping as their only economic activity. As such, they remain vulnerable given their overdependence on cattle under adverse Arid and Semi-arid climatic conditions which does not allow growth of pasture. Once bitten, twice shy – so they say but for the Turkanas the biting by drought has been done too many times. This community has suffered greatly under the pangs of drought leading to loss of lives of both humans and animals. This has conscripted the community members to adopt alternative economic activities or risk starving to death. That alternative is agriculture.


Pastoralists look after their cattle

Till recently, this region was crippled by insecurity emanating from cattle rustling cases. Now, death of cattle rustling and the return of peace in the region has seen more than 100,000 residents embrace irrigation farming. The interest in furrow and drip irrigation by the inhabitants has followed the revival of 12 schemes, including Elliea, by the government and aid agencies. This poses a great step towards reducing food insecurity in this region. Also, these projects will motivate farmers to venture into horticultural and invest in drought resistant crops.

The bumper harvest realized at Lotubae irrigation scheme last season has served to motivate most families in the area to invest in agriculture. The government of Kenya seeks to increase the area under irrigation in Elliea from 400 to 800 acres. This scheme produced 8,000 and 2,000 bags of maize and sorghum respectively last season. For Lotubae irrigation scheme it is set to be expanded from 750 to 1,200 acres while Morrulem will beexpanded from 1,500 to 2,000 acres.

The National Irrigation Board has launched feasibility studies on irrigation schemes in Turkana South and East Districts in the region to rehabilitate stalled irrigation schemes and initiate new ones. The government allocated approximately Sh60 million for irrigation projects in Turkana County. Among those to benefit from the funds is Katilu irrigation scheme that has been allocated Sh45 million to put 650 hectares of land under irrigation.


One of the farming projects being done under irrigation

Another Sh20 million has been set aside for proposed Lotubae irrigation scheme in Turkana East and Sh38 million for Nakwomoru scheme on the downstream of Turkwell gorge. The government with support of Italy has developed Wei Wei irrigation scheme in West Pokot with more than 275 hectares set for irrigation .This programme is expected to benefit over 7,000 people in an area that has experienced perpetual food shortage. The plan is to plant over 100 acres of land with drought resistant crops aimed at enabling the community members to attain food sufficiency.


A Turkana woman looks after her crops

Another tremendous activity taking place is that most families living along Rivers Kerio and Turkwell are producing vegetables, bananas and drought resistant crops like sorghum and millet. This programme supported by the World Food Program (WFP) targets placing more than 75,000 acres of land under agriculture. According to The National Irrigation Board (NIB), Kenya has more than 600,000 hectares suitable for irrigation but only a quarter of them have been exploited. What would happen if more youths were encouraged to pick up farming in these regions alongside cattle keeping? There would no more starvation caused deaths.


Nanjala milking her cow

Nanjala milking her cow

Women play an important role in family farming; while men are busy farming for cash, they farm to provide their families with nutrition. As they farm, women are confronted with a myriad of challenges the worst of which is diseases. For this reason, there is a necessity for women to ensure prevention of diseases in their animals. Mastitis is one of the diseases that is causing havoc in their livestock and should be avoided by all means.

Mastitis is the most prevalent and atrocious disease that decimates many herds every year, yet it’s easy to prevent – as it was explained by one farmer, Nanjala. Mastitis is characterized by the inflammation of the mammary glands and udder tissue involving one or more quarters of the udder-the udder is divided into four quarters each with a teat. Mastitis that is characterized by the swelling of the whole udder or any of the quarters of the udder, firmness, increased temperature of the udder or palpation and changes in milk consistency and colour is termed clinical Mastitis. Another type of mastitis may not show these signs and is termed non-clinical. Continue reading

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