Farmers at Bura irrigation scheme in Tana River County have embarked on a pilot hay farming covering 18-acres.
Tana River is among the ten counties hard hit by drought with the Kenya Red Cross Society estimating that the dry weather has so far claimed the lives of over 2000 livestock.
“We have realized during this time of drought pastoralists are struggling to get pastures for their livestock. We have started a pilot project, where we have allowed the pastoralists to grow pastures under irrigation,’’ said Peter Orua, the Acting Scheme Manager.
Mr Orua added that if the venture succeeds, they will upscale hay farming which he said will also minimize the conflicts between farmers and pastoralists in Bura region.
Bura irrigation scheme has allowed pastoralists to access drinking water for both livestock and domestic use from its canals that stretch 50kms from Nanigi pumping station.
The scheme also distributes water during drought to the community as their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) “We have treated water that we distribute to our farmers in the twelve villages and the community,’’ added the Acting Scheme Manager.
Orua said they have also dug a trench to create a buffer zone between the cropland and the wildlife to prevent human/wildlife conflicts.
Since the onset of drought, the number of wildlife crossing over to the scheme in search of food and water from neighbouring conservancies has increased alarmingly necessitating the creation of buffer zone.
By Sadik Hassan