Let’s work towards a food secure Turkana; It’s possible
BY SAMUEL KABLIT
Turkana is a rich, if not richest, county in Kenya. I happen to have visited some areas of this great county. Go to Turkana South (Angolol) Katilu zone. Go to Turkana East (Morulem). In these places, all you see is green, green and green. The lands have been irrigated so much, that not greens, not vegetables, not maize, not beans, not fruits, no sugarcane, no millets, no sorghum, can miss here. During harvest season, all stores are filled with stocks of food. Other farmers sell their produce to National Cereals and Produce Board. Some go ahead and export to other counties, such as West Pokot and Trans Nzoia. Go around Turkana County and you will find that we have many fertile and potential soils for irrigation. In Turkana West, we have Letea/Loritit, Lokangae, Lopur, Nanam, Loreng, Lopwarin, Tarach, Songot among others. Loima has Lochor Emeyan, Koono, Kalemnyang, Kangalita, Puch, Urum, Lorengippi, Turkwel, Napeikar, Nabuin, Nadapal, while Turkana Central has all the areas along River Turkwel, Lorengelup, Chokchok, Napuu, Naotin and more.
We should not be talking of Dog meat again. While hunger can be caused by climate change and its negative impacts, we should be talking of setting up irrigation schemes and large scale farming. We have some rich soils around Turkana County. Let’s sink boreholes, make dams, take advantage of River Turkwel and River Kerio – the two permanent rivers around. Small-scale farming is already underway along rivers Turkwel and Kerio. This is a good gesture, but we need to encourage commercialisation and value chain farming. All the produce from these farming ends up in the households. Widening the market would do good. We have institutions that can consume these products, namely schools, Lodwar District Hospital, Medical Training College, and areas of residence around Turkana County. We need to encourage domestic markets on the same as we go venturing into interior Turkana. Luckily, water and irrigation is a devolved function of the county government. The responsible county executive should consider allocating more money to this docket so that the dream of a food secure county can be realised. Napuu and Lotikipi Aquifers are said to have the potential to supply water for in the entire East Africa for 70 years. Well, let’s be the first to benefit. Pump and pipe the water to the potential arable soils and lets do irrigation. I am confident this is possible. I am sure of a food secure Turkana. It does not bring a good picture when we are in the news for all bad reasons. We cannot allow this to happen when we can help ourselves. Let’s do this!
The writer is the Turkana County representative, National Youth Council.
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