• Residents mainly rely on pastoralism.
• MP Rashid Kasim says irrigation will diversify the county’ economy and make the people more self-reliant.
The National Irrigation Board (NIB) seeks to make Wajir county food-secure.
The area has tracts of arable land that is idle as the region is dry and receives minimal rain. This has made it difficult for residents, who largely rely on pastoralism, to practice crop farming.
On Saturday, NIB officials toured the constituency to identify potential areas of farming through drip irrigation. They were invited by Wajir East MP Rashid Kassim.
The team was led by Engineer Stephen Mutinda. They traversed the vast constituency to identify the best sites for agricultural projects. Areas surveyed included Arbakherance, Bojigaras, Riba and Qarsa.
Engineer Mutinda said the government’s mission is to make sure the region adopts crop farming.
"We are focusing on the arid and semi-arid areas where we want to exploit their maximum potential as far as farming is concerned. However, for this to succeed, harvesting rainwater will be key," he said.
He said the national government is already building dams across the region in readiness for the November-December long rains. He said some have been completed.
Bojiqaras resident Mohamed Abdi welcomed the development, saying they are ready to join crop farming if they get the necessary support.
Speaking to the press at Bojigaras, MP Kassim said the region is endowed with fertile land, which, if put to good use, can grow different varieties of crops, hence making the region food-secure.
Kassim irrigation will help diversify the county’s economy and make the people more self-reliant, especially during drought.
"Our only problem has been water. Our underground water is salty, hence cannot be used to grow crops. The rainfall we receive is also very minimal and cannot sustain crops to maturity," he said.
With the support of the national government and the NIB, however, rainwater can be harvested and stored in dams then used for irrigation, he said.
"I'm sure if our people, who are very hardworking, are given the necessary support, they can do quite a lot as far as farming is concerned. It is my hope and prayer that the irrigation board will walk with us in this journey of transforming our region," Kassim added.
More pastoralists in Northern Kenya are joining crop farming as an alternative source of livelihood in the face of frequent, prolonged and devastating effects of drought.
(Edited by F'Orieny)