According to The Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report 2021, between 720 million and 811 million people globally are faced with hunger. According to the report, people are finding it hard to access enough nutritious food for consumption, and where food can be accessed, the food is usually of low nutritional value.
Farmers’ contribution to the world’s food security is huge with a third of the total food supply coming from smallholder farmers. Farmers in rural areas especially those in arid and semi-arid regions face a myriad of challenges. Erratic climatic conditions have worsened the situation for these farmers.
In Turkana County Kenya, farms that initially relied on the rain have long dried up due to the prolonged drought. With low agricultural productivity, food insecurity in the county has increased with livestock farmers also bearing the brunt of the drought losing livestock in their thousands.
Not long ago the farmers also had to deal with locust invasion that destroyed their crops.
Despite these challenges, farmers have been resilient. Rivers and boreholes have provided a lifeline to food producers. Napak farm, for instance, the farm is located along River Turkwel. The farmers at the farm have managed to remain productive even during the toughest times. Like many other farms along the river, Napak accesses water from the river through canals.
Kaekunyuk Farm in Turkana South was a rain-fed farm that simply dried up due to the drought. It roared back to being productive thanks to a borehole sunk at the farm. Underground water has come to the rescue of the farmers who so dearly needed the water. Many such farms across the County have a similar story as Kaekunyuk.
In Kanaodon village, deep in Katilu ward, a women’s group led by Susan Nakadi a Community Health Volunteer has adopted vertical gardening to grow vegetables for their home use. The women take turns caring for the garden and filling the tanks with water. In an area where water is the main problem, farming is close to impossible. “These vertical gardens use less water as it has a shade net compared with the normal kitchen gardens in the open. They are also highly productive and effortless to manage.” Said Susan.
Many small-scale farmers across the world face many challenges to produce food. It is their resilience that makes the otherwise impossible undertaking possible. PanAfricare and its partners work to support such farmers at different levels.
In Turkana County through the IMPACT Program with funding from Bayer Fund, PanAfricare has supported farmers by building farm infrastructure (Boreholes, irrigation system, and canal construction), and supporting women groups with vertical conical gardens among other interventions.