Under the blistering Turkana heat at the foot of a dry hill with drying shrubs, lies a green blossoming farm full of activity and life. The sight creates a scenario of hope and despair. Whereby in one section life is disappearing while in another it is full of life.
We are in Napak Irrigation Scheme in Turkwel, Turkana County and farmers are in a joyful mood as they make their first harvest in years.
Here farmers are harvesting cowpeas, maize, watermelons, pumpkins and groundnuts.
The harvest comes at a time when Turkana County is experienced one of longest dry spells in years. With the drought already declared a national disaster by the National government, farms such as Napak that continue to produce food has managed to cushion the community against the adverse effects of the drought.
On her section of the scheme, Ann Emase is harvesting cowpeas beans which she says she planted four months ago. According to her, the farm has been a lifeline to the community. “We are way ahead and better off than other villages. We have food which we sometimes sell while others buy.” The mother of five says her children now have food unlike in the past where they would be forced to skip meals in some days.
Emase Lokuda who is the scheme chairman has groundnuts ready for harvest on his section. As he supervises the rest of the farmers harvesting, he tells us the rehabilitation of the farm came at the most opportune time. “The drought is really affecting the people as food has become scarcer. This farm has truly given hope to the people. As you can see, we have maize being harvested while others are being harvested”
Napak is under canal irrigation and utilizes water from the nearby River Turkwel. The farm had been overtaken by the inversive prosopis juliflora plant and the irrigation canals which once brought life to the farm were dilapidated and needed desilting.
The farm roared back to life after intervention by PanAfricare IMPACT Program which supported the farmers to rehabilitate the farm and its structures.
Through financial support from Bayer Fund, the Program also provideed farm inputs and held training sessions for the farmers.