With funding from Bayer Fund, the IMPACT Program is installing home cone gardens to support 200 women in the Program’s project areas in Turkana County.
With the drought affecting most households, conventional kitchen gardens have dried due to a lack of water. “Most women here in Namakat had kitchen gardens that unfortunately have dried up because of the prolonged lack of rain in the area.” Said Esther Ajikon, a mother and Community Health Volunteer in Namakat Village, Turkana South.
The number of people who can afford balanced diets in the areas has dropped due to the increase in prices of basic commodities such as vegetables.
The drought has not dried kitchen gardens but also big rain-fed farms that would usually provide a lifeline to the communities during lean periods. “Food prices have gone up, women could sell vegetables from their gardens but that is no longer the case. We rely on vendors who get them from towns far from here.” Added Ajikon.
Through the IMPACT Program, Ajikon and other 200 women are beneficiaries of cone gardens established in their homesteads. The cone gardens come with storage tanks and irrigation pipes fitted onto them.
The irrigation system mirrors that of drip irrigation where slowly water drops on the root of the plants planted. Their economical utilization of water makes them suitable for water-stressed areas.
The cone gardens are highly productive compared to normal home gardens. This is because there is high concentration of nutrients and losses are minimal. The cone layers also allow crop diversification.
Vegetables such as spinach, cowpeas, carrots and others can be grown at the different layers of the cones. Once fenced, the gardens are easy to manage. Very minimal gardening time is required to operationalize it once it has been planted.
In the project areas, the gardens are expected to increase availability and the consumption of diversified diets.
The IMPACT Program targets to reduce the high rates of malnutrition in Turkana through interventions that significantly improve nutrition outcomes for pregnant and lactating women, infants, and young children (defined as under 5 years of age), while simultaneously, improving food security and resilience for the entire household.