Groundnuts farming brings hope to Turkana farmers
A farmer holds groundnuts harvested at Kalemunyang Irrigation Scheme.
Meet Josephat Emase, 47, a farmer, at the Kalemunyang Irrigation Scheme in Loima sub-County, 57 kilometres from Lodwar.
Emase, a father of seven, is one of the 516 farmers who have converted one acre of their scheme to grow high market value groundnuts.
Traditionally, Emase like other farmers in the Kalemunyang scheme used to grow only maize, but today, they have diversified and cultivating the nutritious aflatoxin free groundnuts.
“I earn 200 shillings per kilogramme from groundnuts, which higher than maize returns,” says Emase. Apart from crop farming, he is also a pastoralist and uses groundnuts leaves as livestock feeds.
Groundnuts farming has increased Emase’s household income and the groundnuts nutritional value has improved his children health too.
“My children are quite different from those people who don't farm here in the scheme, same to my livestock because they consume the groundnuts leaves as my family eats the nuts,” he adds.
The Food and Agriculture Organization Country representative Carla Mucavi expressed her joy by seeing farmers embracing farming for Turkana to be a food secure county.
“This is really agribusiness, it means that you will improve on food security and nutrition,” says FAO Representative to Kenya Carla.
The first seed trials conducted in partnership with Egerton University in early 2020 revealed that Turkana is excellent for groundnut production because it is virgin farm lands, with the nuts being Aflatoxin free (0.0 ppb), as well as a protein content of 30 per cent.
The four-year project costing US$ 2M and funded by the IKEA Foundation, identified the groundnut value chain as a potential crop for sustainable income generation and nutrition security for both the host and refugee community.
Turkana County hosts about 350,000 refugees and the program will be an opportunity of integrating and working very closely with the host community. This initiative is implemented by WFP, UNHCR, Egerton University and Instant, which is helping out farmers to access groundnuts market.
FAO will be supporting farmers in technical trainings as they will be able to train others in order to upscale and expand for the sustainability of the project.
Claudia Ah Poe, Head of Food Systems and Resilience, WFP Kenya, encouraged the farmers to diversify into various nutritious crops like groundnuts and other crops for income generation and healthy diets in the community.
“Support other communities to replicate this success story and build on the experience that has been on the ground,” she says.