Elgeyo Marakwet county has launched a multimillion-shilling peace plan to rehabilitate youth engaged in cattle rustling in Kerio Valley.
The county distributed Sh12 million seeds in seven wards in Kerio Valley to engage youth in agricultural activities.
At least 150 people were killed and 10,000 animals stolen in cattle rustling raids that started in March 2016.
Deputy Governor Wesley Rotich said farming will reduce banditry.
The seeds were distributed in Arror, Sambirir, Endo, Kapyego, Tambach, Soy North and Emsoo wards.
The seeds include maize, green grams, sorghum, millet and beans.
The county government has linked the youth to key markets through contract farming.
“We have had peace in Kerio Valley for more than a month. We realised the only way to help the residents was to provide seeds, instead of supplying relief food,” Rotich said.
Farmers in the valley bordering Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot counties lost all their properties in the two years of skirmishes and now lack capital to restart farming.
Peace was restored in Kerio Valley in February after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i toured the troubled the area. He ordered enhanced surveillance on the borders of the three counties.
“I hope neighbouring counties are establishing programmes to empower the youth,” Rotich said.
He said the county partnered with Egerton University to carry out research on suitable seeds for drought-prone Kerio Valley.
Egerton crops researcher Paul Kimurto said the valley has huge potential for sorghum, green grams and pigeon peas.