By Joyce Okuta and Noah Lusaka
The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) on March 13, 2015 launched Nolororo Horticulture Project in Ilchamus Ward in Marigat Sub County. ALIN in partnership with Act Change Transform (Act!), with financial support from Department for International Development (DFID) and Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) is implementing a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) project in Baringo County with the aim of strengthening communities’ resilience to impacts of climate change while conserving natural resources.
The launch was attended by communities and distinguished guests who included Mr. William Chelal, Marigat Sub-County Administrator; Hon. Wesley Kakimon, Ilchamus Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA); Mr. Levis Saning’o, Ilchamus Ward Administrator; Sub-county Agriculture Officer; Environment and Natural Resources Officers; Agriculture Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP); Noah Lusaka, ALIN Project Manager and Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group. Over 200 community members including students participated at the event.
Showcasing appropriate Technologies
The project launch activity twinned up as an open day to demonstrate various technologies by other stakeholders to communities. The stakeholders showcased their activities through exhibitions. Those that exhibited included: Nolororo Women Group – who showcased their one acre solar powered drip irrigation system under tomatoes and beans, Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) - honey and trained farmers on beekeeping and production of bee hives to organized groups and Kapkuikui Self Help Group exhibited processed honey and beehive, named Kapkuikui super log hive, which they innovated to get more honey. Other exhibitors were Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development who promoted Traditional High Value Crops (THVC) namely: finger millet, cassava and sweet potatoes. Crops like garlic, beans, butternuts, tomatoes and onions were also among other crop varieties displayed and are suitable to be planted in the dry climatic area of Baringo.
National Irrigation Board (NIB) presented: paw paws, cotton, mangoes, oranges among others which are grown to ensure food security in the County. Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources promoted environmental conservation methods and reduction of deforestation through energy saving stoves and planting of mango seedlings respectively.
During the event, participants visited the group’s farm to see the various climate smart agriculture technologies that included water harvesting from River Molo furrow to the farm pond, water pumping using a solar powered pump to a storage tank with capacity of five thousand litres elevated at three metres high, the drip irrigation system and agroforestry practices.
The Nolororo Women Group horticulture project was established in September 2014 and a solar powered drip irrigation system installed. The group draws water from River Molo furrow that serves the Eldume Irrigation Scheme. A channel, about sixty metres from the furrow to the farm pond, was dug by the community; this ensures that there is adequate supply of water for irrigation. The farm pond has a capacity of over 250 cubic metres, and members refill it biweekly. The group members have been trained about plant protection, harvesting, value addition and marketing. They are now using drip irrigation technology to produce nutritious food.
Potential to replicating climate smart agriculture
Speaking while launching the project, Mr. William Chelal, lauded the efforts made by ALIN and other organizations in uplifting the livelihood of farmers. He said that the field day was a wakeup call for the people of Baringo County to work hard in order to be empowered.
“It is a high time for the farmers to adopt appropriate technologies to ensure sufficient food production. Farmers should join organized groups in order to tap the vast opportunities available in the County,” said Mr. Chelal.
Hon. Wesley Kakimon said that he is ready to support climate smart agriculture initiatives in the area, since the initial cost for installing the drip kit is affordable and the County can support such initiatives.
Furthermore, the community should embrace such technologies to avert poverty and to be resilient to the changing climatic conditions. He encouraged members of Nolororo Women Group to train other groups about the technology.
Mr. Levis Saning’o noted that the project has eased the work of Nolororo Women Group as it has enabled them to get time to engage in other development activities within the community. Previously, the group used to spend close to eight hours irrigating their farm which was expensive as they had to hire labour.
Reaching a wider audience
On his part, Mr. Noah Lusaka thanked the County government for the cooperation given throughout the project implementation. He informed the audience that recently, the group’s work was disseminated widely through Sauti ya Mwananchi Radio based in Nakuru and an article featured in the Standard Newspaper.
“The group has realized a drastic reduction in use of fuel for pumping water thus decrease of emissions has been experienced and, more time spent irrigating the farm. Consequently, has helped to mitigate the effects of climate change as well as increasing food production,” said Mr. Lusaka.
The objective of the event was to demonstrate to communities and stakeholders the various opportunities in food production using minimal water resources and appropriate technologies as an adaptation strategy to climate change. The event was used as an opportunity for communities to interact directly with County leaders and stakeholders. All participants learned more about climate smart agriculture that is aimed at reducing emissions at the farm level, conserving natural resources like soil and water while increasing nutritious food production at household level and at the same time increasing family income.