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Underground tanks turning round farmers’ fortunes

Farmers in Nakuru County have resorted to the construction of underground water tanks for irrigation of their crops due to the perennial water scarcity in most areas.

James Maina, a vegetable farmer from Gilgil, said it was almost impossible to grow even sukuma wiki in a kitchen garden because the area is dry and rain unreliable.

However, he said the introduction of affordable underground water tanks with a liner have changed farming in the area and they no longer rely on vegetables from outside the town.

He was speaking today during a field day at his farm, which has become a demonstration centre on the positive effects of underground tanks.

Maina said the concrete tanks were not only expensive for smallholder farmers but they always leaked and were expensive to maintain.

Avocado seedlings grown using water from underground tanks.

He said the dam liner paper was bought according to the size of the hole and arranged inside by a technician. Also, he said depending on the quality of the liner, it could stay for as long as ten years.

In addition, he said food security would only be achieved in the county only if farmers were assisted to store enough water within their farms because crops require water and not necessarily from direct rainfall.

However, he said, after surmounting the water scarcity, they were now faced with another stumbling block of marketing their vegetables due to poor roads and distance from lucrative markets such as Nairobi and Mombasa.

He appealed to County governments to construct solar cottage vegetable drying points to enable the farmers to preserve them for longer periods in order to make profits when demand increased.

By Veronica Bosibori


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