West Pokot County government in collaboration with mercy corps is setting up a KSH 10 million irrigation scheme at Takaywa village along the Pokot Turkana border to help improve food security.
Speaking during the official launch of the project, Governor John Lonyangapuo said the project will be able to cater for over 500 families which mostly depend on relief food since independence.
Lonyangapuo said they estimate to harvest over 6,000 bags of maize from over 50 acres of land they are going to irrigate using solar power.
“We shall plant short season crops which will enable farmers farm thrice per year, hence reducing the over-dependence on relief food and cases of cattle rustling,” he said.
The Governor blamed the past governments for encouraging cattle rustling along the border since it has never initiated projects to keep the residents busy.
“Youths are idle and residents lack food, this has encouraged them to engage in raids to help them earn a living,” he said, saying the government has to set up an irrigation scheme in the region to help end cases of cattle rustling.
He said the County has unused land which, when irrigated, can be able to feed the county and still remain surplus for sale. “The farms are fertile and farmers will not require fertilizer,” he said.
The West Pokot County boss said they will encourage farmers to practice intercropping in the irrigation scheme to help reduce pastoralism.
Lonyangapuo said pastoralism has led to loss of lives along the border as young people engage in raids.
“We want national and nongovernmental organizations to partner with Counties that are prone cattle rustling and set up irrigation schemes to help enhance peace in the regions,” he said.
One of the residents, Mary Lolem said the irrigation scheme will help reduce cases of malnutrition and stunted growth in children under five years in the region.
“We are unable to feed our children a balanced diet since we don’t have food. The government should send agricultural officers here to help teach us about farming methods,” she said.