The Turkana County Government and the UN agency World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday signed a five-year agreement for joint implementation of development programmes meant to achieve food security in the County.
The Turkana Governor, Josphat Nanok and WFP Representative and Country Director, Annalisa Conte penned the deal to transform County Government’s structures and food systems, through joint investment to build resilience for communities.
The document also provides for initiatives to increase market access for farmers, strengthen the County’s preparedness towards dealing with emergencies, and implement school-feeding programme and nutrition campaigns for the vulnerable.
Speaking after the signing, Nanok said investment to support food production through flood-based farming for over 10,000 households will contribute to achieving food security which he said was a priority for the County Government and added it will help to reduce the size of the county’s population that is dependent on relief food.
“This agreement is going to run for the next five years and we will be utilizing resources by WFP to increase acreage
under flood-based farming irrigation. The biggest target for the County Government is to drastically reduce the number of food insecure people from the high of 80 percent to a manageable figure,” he said.
Nanok said the County Government will take the lead in the programme and thanked WFP for support now and in the past in terms of emergency intervention, refugee assistance and asset creation.
He added that the programme will bring in more partners to invest in better storage for food produced locally to limit post-harvest losses.
On her part, Ms. Conte said WFP was shifting its nature of support for the region from primarily providing relief response to joint investment to developfood security systems for communities.
“We will continue providing relief whenever needed but we want to change the lives of these people who are regularly affected by food insecurity and under the leadership of the County Government we will work together to support communities to have better access to food, diversify livelihoods and developing and integrating the markets,” she said and added that part of efforts to strengthen market linkages for small holder producers will be to support their financial literacy and access to credit.
The CECM for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, Chris Aletia, who will chair the Project Steering Committee, said the programme will open doors for development that will impact several other sectors apart from agriculture and livestock production.
Aletia said the focus for his department in irrigation for crop production was to move beyond conventional techniques by introducing new means such as the flood-based farming system.
Present at the signing was the County Secretary, Peter Eripete, Finance and Economic Planning CECM, Robert Loteleng’o, Chief Officers, Dr. Michael Eregae (Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Services), Joshua Lemuya (Agriculture and Land Reclamation), Chief of Staff, Ekuwam Nakiporo and Deputy Director for Resource Mobilization, Charles Ekai.
By Peter Gitonga