Like many farmers in Turkana County, Lokale and his fellow villagers in Natirae used to rely on rain-fed agriculture. Turkana, being one of the driest Counties in Kenya, the rainfall was most of the time unpredictable and erratic, making it difficult for the members of the community to grow enough food to support their families at the household level as well as sell the surplus to boost the household income.
Their fortune took a great positive turn when PanAfricare Kenya started supporting them. They have been given assistance through land clearing, provision of seeds and farm tools as well as capacity building on Good Agricultural Practices.
A major intervention is the just concluded extension of the canal for about 700 meters towards the Turkwel River and building of a modern gate to control the water at the intake. Indeed with the intervention, it means that all the beneficiaries now have year-round access to a reliable water supply for their farming activities. The canal extension was a necessary intervention by PanAfricare after the river changed its course leasing to lack of water access to the farm.
“My portion of land is almost two kilometers from the river and this made it unproductive because I couldn’t direct the water from the river during the dry seasons. We just used to watch the river flow as it was too far. Crop failure was a regular occurrence as well, Then PanAfricare came and started assisting us almost two years ago. We were given various training, tools and seeds and extension of the canal that made irrigation farming possible,”’ added Lokale.
In the past two years, the farmers have been able to grow and harvest maize, traditional vegetables and sorghum just but to mention a few. The excitement can be seen as the beneficiaries weed and till their lands as they get ready for the next harvest that will be in the next three months.
Indeed most of the farmers interviewed shared the same sentiment that they have seen tremendous changes in their lives. From previous harvests, the health status of the children has improved. This is also due to the fact that new nutritious vegetables introduced by PanAfricare Kenya have been added to their daily diet. With surplus harvest being sold locally, the beneficiaries have also been able to have resources to pay for school fees, medical fees as well as household items.
Lokale is one of the more than 880 farmers being supported directly by the PanAfricare Kenya IMPACT Program currently being implemented in Katilu and Turkwel Wards of Turkana South and Loima Sub-Counties respectively with support from Bayer FUND.
Also watch as we explore Napool irrigation canal rehabilitated by the IMPACT Program.