- The county will excavate 7,050 meters of retention ditches and 21,150 meters of terraces on farms in the selected areas in Kariti and Kiini wards.
- Farmers will also receive 150,000 avocado, 50,000 macadamia and 300,000 coffee seedlings to plant in their farms.
The Kirinyaga county government has embarked on reclaiming the county’s degraded land.
Under the Sustainable Land Management programme, Governor Anne Waiguru commissioned a satellite soil scanning exercise that was able to identify land degradation hotspots in the county, which informed the resolve to reclaim them.
The first phase of the programme involves preventing and mitigating land degradation as well as restoring degraded soils in selected villages in Kariti and Kiini wards in Ndia constituency.
As an intervention measure, an area covering 461 hectares of degraded land is benefiting from excavation of 7,050 meters of retention ditches and 21,150 meters of terraces on farms in the selected areas.
Terming land as the most important capital investment in agriculture, Waiguru underscored the critical role that sustainable land management plays in enabling optimisation of agricultural production and productivity in the county.
The department of agriculture is implementing various interventions in Ngu-Nyumu, Kamolo, Kianjege villages in Kariti ward and Kiamuguongo in Kiini ward. These areas are mainly very steep and whenever there is heavy rainfall, tons of soil are swept by raging waters since there have not been any barriers.
Agriculture executive Dr John Gachara said the ditches and terraces will prevent soil erosion and optimise soil conservation, adding that apart from the terraces farmers will be supported to plant high value trees such as avocado, macadamia and coffee.
The department of agriculture has propagated 150,000 avocado, 50,000 macadamia and 300,000 coffee seedlings at the Kamweti Farmers Training Centre for distribution to farmers under the project.
Besides land reclamation, people in the affected localities have benefitted from providing paid labour for the project that started last month.
Gachara said the project is being led by project implementation committee whose membership is drawn from the benefiting community.
In Kianjege village, residents are very grateful as they start realising the benefits of the land reclamation project. With the ongoing rains, the terraces and ditches are already harvesting the run-off water thus arresting the previously vicious run-off.
Millicent Wanjiru, a resident, termed the project a timely intervention that will protect their crops and structures during the ongoing heavy rains.
“Whenever it rained heavily in this area, we used to witness destruction by run-off water, sometimes destroying structures and crops, but we are happy that the terraces are now arresting high pressure of water flowing downhill," she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Belton Nderi, a resident of Ngu-Nyumu, who noted that terraces and ditches are very effective soil erosion prevention methods. He termed the project the long-awaited solution to a problem that they have grappled with from time immemorial.