Turkana should embrace the same and take advantage of irrigation schemes to reduce their dependence on aidby Dion Juma Jan 13th · 2 min read
The move by some pastoralist communities to embrace irrigation in crop farming as a way to combat hunger and its effects instead of solely depending on livestock rearing promises to improve food security.
According to research by the Frontier Counties Development Council, by January last year many livestock keepers had shifted to crop production, especially in areas such as Samburu, where irrigation projects helped alleviate hunger.
Moreover, Samburu Director of Agriculture, Tyson Lemako said that apart from opening up the irrigation schemes, the county has also been offering subsidies to farmers, including distribution of seeds and purchase of tractors to several groups.
Other arid and semi-arid regions such as Turkana should embrace the same and take advantage of irrigation schemes to reduce their dependence on aid and relief food support.
SEE ALSO :County to build 2,000 houses for the poor by 2022This is because the Big Four agenda pillar on national food security is a goal that has to be tackled fully; from the farmers to the protection of our crops from pests, to the Ministry of Agriculture and the market place where crops get to its consumers.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, locusts have already destroyed crops on 70,000ha (175,000 acres) in Somalia and Ethiopia, threatening food supplies in both countries in the worst such invasion in 20 years.
Furthermore, FAO affirmed that locusts pose a great danger due to their ability to move quickly over long distances, destroying crops and other plants growing on the way.
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This allows a large number of the insects to hatch and breed within a short time. Wajir, Marsabit and Mandera, which are both arid and semi-arid regions, have already been affected and damage has been done, especially in some farms close to Somalia and Ethiopia.
The efforts by our ministry to cater for aerial spraying of the crops should be commended, even though a more suitable approach to equip the farmers with strategies to combat locusts either through the introduction of biological predators should also be considered.
SEE ALSO :Quality inputs key to making Kenya food secureAnother way could also be equipping residents with skills and knowledge to fight pests and diseases.
Ignorance is one of the major reasons why the locusts were a big shocker to the farmers in that region.
It, therefore, goes without saying that after we have curbed the spread of locusts and destroyed them, we must think long term by training farmers, not only on the modern farming technology, but also on how to cope with pests and diseases.
This is a good way to achieving the Big Four agenda on food security.