The government is working towards improving flexibility to drought by communities in the Arid and Semi-arid Areas (ASAL) through implementation of a Sh 5.48 billion sustainable livelihood programme.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) funded programme will cover six arid and semi-arid counties namely Turkana, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit, Baringo and West Pokot.
In a press release on Friday, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri said the project will contribute to poverty reduction, enhance food security as well as accelerate sustainable economic growth through provision of rural incomes to the communities.
“The Ministry is looking forward to working closely with the County Governments to make Agriculture, a viable profitable and an enabler in improving not only the economy of the country but livelihoods of our people”, the CS said
He explained that the key component areas of the project were natural resource management, livestock infrastructure development and project management and capacity building.
Natural resources will provide support to communities and improve management of the water and irrigation infrastructure development at a cost of Sh. 3,375,496,976; Livestock will cater for pasture and livestock marketing at a cost of Sh.1, 673,586,664 while the capacity building that will strengthen capabilities and contribute to peace building and mitigation will cost Sh. 431,935,632.
“Today the programme commissioned 7 irrigation schemes with a total area of 1050 hectares under construction. Two are in Marsabit and Turkana while one each in Baringo , Isiolo and West Pokot at a total cost of Sh. 1,182,715,719.54”, Kiunjuri said.
The CS explained that structures that have been constructed in all the six counties include 20 water pans, 20 boreholes, 5 shallow wells and 5 sub-surface dams.
20 livestock markets, he explained have also been upgraded and equipped with disease surveillance facilities ,18 fodder crops have been established and 12 demonstration plots of communal pastures under 600 hectares rehabilitated.
One livestock holding group and quarantine station is under construction in Marsabit County and 100 km of road will be constructed, he said.
The CS said that a few days ago the Ministry was awarded a total of seven contracts costing Sh. 466,946,005.88 for drilling of boreholes which include 14 in Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit, 2 shallow wells in Marsabit and Isiolo and one mega dam in Baringo County to support Kiboi Irrigation scheme.
“This is a testimony of the ministry’s commitment towards realizing a food and nutrition secure Country under the “Big Four’ Agenda”, the CS said.
Kiunjuri assured that another set of seventeen contracts will be unveiled soon in Marsabit , Samburu and Turkana Counties.
By Wangari Ndirangu