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Pastoralists turn to farming

A  group of 15 pastoralists have resorted to rain-fed agriculture in a quest for harnessing better returns.

The  farmers in Muhumed Dahir location, Masalani division, Ijara Sub County have each ploughed a part of their arable land to venture into maize and melon farming.

The  group’s founder, Abdi  Ali says the Barwaqo farm members decided to turn to farming because livestock keeping could not sufficiently meet their livelihood needs.

Speaking to KNA, Ali said he had ploughed his one-acre farm and bought seeds after seeking technical advice from the Department of Agriculture who confirmed that the land was arable.

He said their challenge now was fencing to keep off wildlife and lack of water to irrigate the farm as depend on rainfall which was rare adding that he was currently using a water bowser.

The Barwaqo farm group comprises of seven women and eight men who put together their personal resources and used it to plough their land and have hope that they will reap a bumper harvest and better their lives.

Asked  why they did not conduct their farming along River Tana, the farmers said besides being three miles away, the colonial boundary falls under the neighbouring Tana River County who occasionally collided with their Pokomo neighbours and this could disrupt their venture.

Ali  and his group members were optimistic that soon they would stop depending on food sourced from neighbouring Tana River and Lamu counties.

The group appealed to Garissa county government and non-governmental organisations for technical support to fence, provide manure and water as they wait for the rains.

Contacted for comment the Sub County Director of  Agriculture,  Sadiq Gure confirmed the land was very arable and that they had been training the group in their demonstration farms at his office on how to plant and manage rain fed agriculture.

Gure  too appealed to his ministry and political leadership in the area to support the group so that they could become role models to would be farmers in the sub county. The director said they have written to the ministry waiting for support.

He  said the residents in Ijara and Hulugho could grow food in their farmland if they could get support from donors.

Gure  said there are about 300 rain-fed agriculture farms in Ijara and Hulugho.

By  Miuhamed Dahir

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