The Deputy Governor, Peter Lotethiro on Saturday led other County government officials and several partners to officially launch ploughing of 350 acres meant for crop and pasture production at Naduat, Nakalale ward in Turkana North Sub-County.
Speaking during the launch, Lotethiro said that the County government is putting more land under acreage through mechanized and irrigated agriculture to increase crop productivity as a means of addressing food insecurity in the County.
While urging residents to embrace Agropastrolism, Lotethiro said that the changing climatic conditions called for diversification of sources of livelihoods to go beyond pastoralism that has traditionally been the main activity in most parts of the County.
He directed agricultural officers to build the capacity of farmers on the necessary techniques for the success of the farms in Naduat, which will have 20 different farming sites together measuring 2550 acres of land that will be ploughed using tractors provided by the County government with contribution of operational cost of Sh. 64 million from World Food Programme (WFP).
The County Executive for Agriculture, Chris Aletia said that the shift to rain-fed farming in addition to the irrigation system that was mostly practiced along River Turkwell and Kerio was intended to strengthen food production and diversification of livelihoods through resilient livelihoods programmes.
He noted that rain-fed farming was a new approach under the Delivery as One (DAO) framework whose Naduat farming exercise falls under.
He pointed out that the ministry had earmarked expansion and desilting of several water pans in the County to be used in farming exercise and also for livestock use, stating that the ploughing of land through rain-fed and irrigated agriculture would be spread to the whole County.
The Nakalale Ward MCA, Nicholas Ewoi thanked the government for initiating the farms in the area, saying that residents had longed for farming support that is expected to benefit more than 600 households.
Residents will benefit from provision of farm tools, pasture and vegetable seeds, training for both crop and livestock systems and market linkages by WFP and County government extension officers.
The Ministry of Agriculture officials present were led by Deputy Director of Administration, Ms. Rachel Aroo.
Other speakers were the United Nations Head of Regional Coordination Office, Per Knutsson, the DAO Coordinator, Susan Aletia, Dr. Dan Irura from FAO, among other representatives from the development partners.
By Peter Gitonga