Tucked away in Katilu Irrigation Scheme in Turkana South Sub-County lies Israel Farm, with at least 30 farmers busy working on their allocated pieces of land. Everyone is busy despite the hot scorching sun. Despite these harsh ecological conditions coupled by insufficient irrigation water due to the biting drought, the beneficiaries are reaping hugely from their harvests. Israel is one of the farms supported by PanAfricare in Turkan County.
Mathew Lokwawi is one aggressive and motivated farmer. With his household of at least eight people, the family is benefiting directly from his piece of land. He is also one of the community members who has embraced the transition from pastoralism to agriculture due to the climate change, livestock conflict, insecurity and the need to establish alternative livelihoods.
Mathew and other beneficiaries including Miss. Nawuyongorot attended various training where they learnt about successful farming, nursery and land preparation, transplanting, weeding, crop protection, staking, and post-harvest techniques. Additionally, through PanAfricare, they were taught on agroecological practices involving preparation and usage of ecofriendly biopesticides as compared to chemical pesticides and fertilizers which have some negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity.
In November 2021, Mathew Lokwawi and other farmers received high value horticultural and nutritious seeds from PanAfricare that included; onions, kales, tomatoes, spinach, capsicum, cowpeas, spider plant, black night shades, amaranth etc . He prepared his land over December and planted some of the vegetables in a planned manner keeping into practice the good agricultural practices he learnt courtesy of PanAfricare.
When we visited the farm in April 2022, Lokwawi was harvesting his tomatoes. A crate goes for about Ksh. 2500 and he already has 20 crates ready for sale. He had planted his tomatoes on half of his one acre land under crop production.
With the profits from his tomato business, he plans to reinvest some of the money back to his farm and has already established a nursery for more vegetables as he clears the land for replanting. One of his biggest accomplishment has also been having more money to inject into the household income as well as pay fees related to the education of his children as they prepare to go back to school in two weeks time. He no longer has to go to the market as most of his loyal customers are buy directly at his farm.
These are sentiments shared by his fellow farmer Miss. Nayongorot who is also busy harvesting kales (sukuma wiki) and spinach next to Lokwawi’s farm. “I am doing fine in life now. I’ve been able to improve my families diet as well as getting enough money for cooking oil and other household needs,” she says.
As a way of building resilience to enable continuous all year farming, PanAfricare has invested in building water structures that include sinking and equipping ten boreholes, canal extensions, and introduction of high value drought resistant seeds like bio-fortified beans.
With this support at least 880 farmers are directly assured of farm support harvests in Katilu and Turkwell Wards in Turkana county. A key strategy in ensuring success of the program has been continous behaviour change communications, committed field agents who visit the farmers as well as timely distribution of farm inputs such as tools and seeds. Capacity building of the farmers has also been key in ensuring that the farmers are self sufficient. PanAfricare continues to support all the targeted farm beneficiaries.