UTILISE VAST LAND

Adopt farming to reduce food deficit, Garissa herders told

The region is experiencing low yields of rice, vegetables and fruits

In Summary

•The government has already released Sh678 million for the expansion of the 15km Raole Canal irrigation scheme in Balambala.

•The scheme, which is now complete, is supplying water downstream to 1000 acres of land, ready for cultivation.

Garissa county commissioner Boaz Cherutich in Balambala subcounty.
Garissa county commissioner Boaz Cherutich in Balambala subcounty.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Garissa county commissioner Boaz Cherutich has urged herders to adopt farming to reduce the high food deficit in the region.

The county is experiencing low yields of rice, vegetables and fruits.

Cherutich said the government has already released Sh678 million for the expansion of the 15km Raole Canal irrigation scheme in Balambala.

The scheme, which is now complete, is supplying water downstream to 1000 acres of land, ready for cultivation.

Cherutich said the Garissa County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee, is working with the National Irrigation Authority and residents to identify farmers, to start the cultivation.

The county commissioner spoke in Balambala subcounty on Tuesday.

CDICC will educate farmers and recommend how the government will help them to improve their yields.

Garissa Governor Ali Korane in a farm in Sankuri ward, Balambala subcounty last week.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane in a farm in Sankuri ward, Balambala subcounty last week.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

“We want to ensure this region is self-reliant,” Cherutich said.

“This is a priority project and I commend the contractor and the NIA engineer for the work completed.” 

The county commissioner urged youths to adopt farming and utilise the vast land in the region.

National Youth Service, Balambala commanding officer Daudi Hussein, urged the youth to join the service to learn and acquire skills to improve their livelihood.

“NYS is the only institution paying school fees for recruits in diploma, artisan, art-craft among other courses. We offer free food, accommodation and allowances,” Hussein said.

He said the Jarajara irrigation scheme is now producing 68 tonnes of rice and 52 tonnes of fruits annually.

The irrigation scheme draws water from River Tana, which, during heavy rains, overflows and blocks the water canal with mud and logs posing a challenge to the scheme.

A woman in Dertu village prepares to load water on a donkey.
A woman in Dertu village prepares to load water on a donkey.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The county commissioner’s call comes barely a month after Garissa Governor Ali Korane made a similar call to residents, to win the fight against food insecurity.

Korane said over-reliance on livestock as the main source of income has rendered residents destitute.

He said the ever-changing climatic condition, which has led to suppressed rainfall, has complicated matters for livestock farmers.

Korane said his administration has invested in farm machinery which is hired to the farmers at a relatively lower fee and urged residents to take advantage by doing meaningful farming.

“Fighting climate change and food insecurity can only be addressed if we all changed tact, seriously embraced irrigation and make good use of River Tana and vast land at our disposal,” he said.

“We are and have always been ready to assist our farmers to actualise this dream of not only making our county but country food secure.” 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris