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Hope for Pokot Central residents as Lomut water project operationalised

Residents of Lomut location in Pokot Central Sub County are a happy lot after the operationalisation of a water project that is going to see them out of the woods of perennial water shortages resulting from climate change.

The ambitious water project courtesy of the Government through the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) is complete with hundreds of households enjoying the water for domestic and irrigation purposes.

Through the water project, pastoralists are now able to diversify their activities through crop farming saving them the pains of trekking for more than 15 kilometers in search of water.

The water well at Makany village that aims at providing sustainable solutions for water shortage in the region has jumpstarted agricultural activities in the region with residents hailing the project.

Speaking during a tour of the project, KVDA Managing Director Sammy Naporos said that the project is a lifesaving venture for the residents adding that water will support irrigation of around 350 acres of land in the area.

Naporos added that West Pokot County will receive Sh700 million to set up 15 water facilities, 10 boreholes and 5 dams that will serve 4,500 and 30,000 livestock.

He said the water is now helping smallholder farmers grow a variety of crops throughout the year thus improving food security.

Naporos stated that farming in Lomut has been challenging since the area receives little rainfall every year making it hard for crops to survive.

“The major drought tolerant crops grown in the area is sorghum and finger millet which is not enough for both nutritional values and income generation,” said the KVDA Director.

He cited the current prolonged droughts occasioned by climate change that has worsened the problem of water scarcity in the area; hence the water projects come in handy for the pastoralists and school going children.

“Once the irrigation scheme is fully operationalised, it will boost and sustain agricultural practices in the area as the smallholder farmers will not worry about rain failure,” he said.

Naporos said the soil in the area is fertile and ideal for growing various crops, saying that the irrigation project will create employment and reduce poverty levels currently being witnessed.

KVDA Managing Director Sammy Naporos (in white shirt) together with Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong (in black cap) among other officials during inspection of a water project at Lomut in Pokot Central Sub County. Photo By Anthony Melly

Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong who is also the Regional Development chairman in the National Assembly said the irrigation project is a massive one and it will transform the lives of the people of Lomut.

He revealed that Sh35 million had been set aside to extend pipes from the scheme to other areas.

“There is no doubt that this project will change the lives of people in Lomut as they will not rely on rainfed agriculture,” said Lochakapong.

The MP said through rain-fed farming, small-scale farmers in Lomut have been supplying tomatoes, mangoes, water melon and bananas to markets as far as Chesegon, Masol and Muino, stating that with the coming of the project, farmers will increase their crop variety that will enable them export to neighbouring counties.

“This irrigation project is definitely a solution to our plight. We have suffered a lot since rain-fed agriculture is not dependable especially in our area,” reiterated the legislator.

Lochakapong advised farmers to take advantage of the irrigation scheme to eliminate poverty in the area.

The MP maintained that having a consistent water supply would make the area food secure and avoid reliance on relief food.

Angeline Asiwatum, a farmer, said the project is an eye opener to them as they will not only produce more food but also generate decent incomes.

“School children now depend on this well thus saving them from the pains of walking for long distances in search of water,” she stated.

Simon Maimah said residents now have access to clean water for domestic use and their livestock need not to migrate to other areas.

“We can now plant crops. We appreciate this support and hope to get more wells in the future,” said Maimah.

By Richard Muhambe and Anthony Melly

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