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September 21, 2017

Mpeketoni farmers abandon fields as lake dries up

A carcass of a hippo at the shores of Lake Kenyatta in Mpeketoni Lamu on December 21. The lake is drying at an alarming rate and could turn into a desert in three years. /Alphonce Gari
A carcass of a hippo at the shores of Lake Kenyatta in Mpeketoni Lamu on December 21. The lake is drying at an alarming rate and could turn into a desert in three years. /Alphonce Gari

The drying up of Lake Kenyatta in Mpeketoni two months ago has hurt irrigation farming.

The lake, one of the oldest and largest natural fresh water lakes, dried up in the drought in many parts of Lamu county.

More than 6,000 farmers from Mpeketoni and its environs depended on water from the lake, but have now quit farming.

Last month, residents discovered a fresh water well close to the lake.

They said, however, the well cannot meet the needs of all farmers and residents.

In a move to save wildlife that depend on the lake, locals used a generator to pump water from the well into the lake.

But they said they could not pump water from the well to their farms.

“We pray the rains come quickly. We have tried sinking boreholes around the lake to keep our irrigation farming going but to no avail,” resident Samuel Chege said.

He continued, “Nothing seems to be working.”

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