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Women in ASAL counties use climate-smart farming to fight poverty

About 3,658 women from three Arid and Semi-Arid counties of Kitui, West Pokot, and Laikipia are thriving through the use of modern farming technologies for sustainable livelihood.

The UN Women Kenya representative Ms. Annah Mutabati speaking in Nanyuki during a workshop on economic empowerment of women through climate smart agriculture technology, said that women from ASAL areas lived in abject poverty that was coupled with cultural values and illiteracy that denied them opportunities for land ownership, access of loans facilities and education.

“Women live in abject poverty and our role is to work with partners to uplift them. Some of those challenges are patriarchal values that view women as second-class citizens therefore denying them opportunities,” said Ms Mutabati.

She noted that stakeholders including the Korean government, and the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) had partnered in a bid to support women in ASAL counties and alleviate poverty through agriculture.

“We want to lift the participating counties of Laikipia,West Pokot, and Kitui out of poverty since this project was started after research was conducted on the challenges women face,” revealed Ms Mutabati.

The Korean International and Cooperation Agency (KOICA) through the UN Women and Food Agricultural Organization had invested about $4.4 million to promote women in the three ASALs counties to practice Climate Smart farming.

The KOICA, Kenya Director Janghee Im said that women were economically empowered as compared to previous years.

“There are many success stories of poultry farming after they lose their livestock due to drought. They are now able to survive through the use of climate-smart agriculture. In the future, we are looking for a sustainable impact,” said IM.

He noted women had grappled with poverty but with climate farming, they were practicing poultry farming, kitchen gardening, beekeeping, and goat rearing to support their families.

West Pokot County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Agriculture Wilfred Longronyang said that women were involved in table banking to supplement their income.

The CEC revealed that, following capacity building by the UN Women and other partners, the women in West Pokot took center stage in leadership positions and decision-making for their enviable benefit.

His Kitui counterpart Dr. Stephen Kimwele said that women groups using Climate farming technologies had increased yields and at the same noted there was a need to empower women for economic growth.

By Muturi Mwangi

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