As the long rains and planting season progresses, the department of agriculture in Marakwet West Sub County has expressed concern over destruction of soil conservation structures on local farms.
According to Marakwet West Sub County Agricultural Officer, Raymond Cheboi, severe soil erosion occurs every year washing away fertile soils into the rivers from the highlands, down into the lowlands of the Kerio Valley.
He observed that most of Marakwet West Sub County is sloppy with 30% of it unfit for cultivation.
The agricultural officer noted that the region was best known for great soil conservation tactics, but currently many farmlands remain bare and crops don’t do well.
He added that the eroded soil takes away plant nutrients leaving the land infertile, which drastically reduces crop yields.
Subsequently, productivity cannot be sustained for long, which makes soil erosion control mandatory for future farming activities.
Cheboi advocated for building of terraces and practicing contour farming in the region, as the terraces will protect the soil from being eroded and also retain soil water, which is critical in crop production.
At the same time, contour farming will protect the soil against rain drops impact and slow down surface runoff.
He urged farmers to seek technical advice from the agricultural extension officers to get guidelines on the best soil conservation practices for their farms.
The agricultural officer further advised farmers to closely supervise land preparations to ensure that conservation structures such as terraces are well constructed.
Meanwhile, Cheboi has appealed to chiefs and their assistants to help in sensitizing the people on the need for soil conservation and water harvesting to help reduce surface runoff and damages occasioned by soil erosion.
By Rennish Okong’o