Murang’a County Assembly Calls for Enhanced Agricultural Extension and Research Investment

MURANG’A, Kenya — The Murang’a County Government has been called upon to prioritize investment in extension services, research, and innovation to bolster local farming.

According to Kenya News Agency, presented by the chairperson of the Committee on Implementation, Hilary Muchoki, the move aims to arm farmers with modern skills and technologies to improve their productivity and meet market demands.

The report emphasizes the need for the county to collaborate with stakeholders to establish robust extension networks. These networks would facilitate training in best farming practices, access to financial services, and market development support, thereby optimizing the benefits of the county’s subsidy programs for mango and milk production.

Muchoki highlighted the challenges faced by local farmers, including outdated technological practices, pest control issues, and inaccuracies in the subsidy program’s beneficiary records. These challenges undermine the effectiveness of the current support structures and impede farmers’ market competitiveness.

Chefman Njoroge, an MCA from Kahumbu ward, supported the motion and stressed the importance of accountability among farmers to prevent fraud. He advocated for real-time monitoring and record-keeping of farmers’ production capabilities.

Further, the report suggests improvements in infrastructure, particularly in roads and transportation, to ensure timely delivery of mangoes and milk to markets. It also recommends the establishment of policies and structures to provide a fair playing field for dairy farmers and to facilitate access to a reliable market for their products, aiming for sustainable growth and profitability in the agricultural sector.

Isiolo County Launches Mass Vaccination Against Rift Valley Fever

ISIOLO, Kenya — Isiolo County has initiated a comprehensive vaccination campaign against Rift Valley Fever, following reports of the disease’s emergence in the neighboring Marsabit County. The campaign is part of the ‘Isiolo County One Health Initiative,’ a collaborative effort involving multiple governmental sectors such as health, water, environment, and livestock, aimed at addressing the spread of the disease, which affects both animals and humans.

According to Kenya News Agency, the Deputy Governor of Isiolo, the county has experienced cases of Rift Valley Fever in the past, with seven deaths recorded in 2020 and 2021. The recent initiative follows the identification of positive cases among animals in Isiolo, whereas human tests have returned negative results so far. The disease has also been detected in humans and animals in Marsabit and Wajir counties, raising concerns over its potential spread.

Dr. Lowassa emphasized the importance of surveillance, public awareness, and the vaccination of animals to prevent further outbreaks. He acknowledged the support of the national government in providing vaccines and urged residents to avoid consuming uninspected meat and milk. The program has begun in Merti and Garbatula areas, focusing on educating the public about the zoonotic nature of the disease and promoting safety measures to prevent transmission.

Turkana County Introduces Elevated Hand Pump Technology for Rural Water Supply

TURKANA COUNTY, Kenya — Rural communities in Turkana County are poised to experience a significant improvement in water accessibility thanks to a new elevated hand pump technology introduced through a collaboration between the local government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This initiative aims to provide residents with easier access to clean and safe water directly from boreholes.

According to Kenya News Agency, JICA’s team leader in Turkana, the innovative technology modifies existing hand pumps by elevating them three to four meters above the ground and incorporating a reservoir tank. This setup allows water to be distributed to households and communal points through gravity-fed pipelines, eliminating the need for electric power or solar energy to drive water pumps.

Before the introduction of this technology, the delivery of piped water in rural areas was largely dependent on boreholes powered by solar or electrical systems. The elevated hand pump is seen as a cost-effective solution that circumvents the limitations associated with these power sources.

The County’s Director of Water Services, Paul Lotum, highlighted the benefits of this low-cost method in upgrading hand pump-equipped boreholes. He appealed to the communities benefiting from the technology to maintain the infrastructure properly and prevent any potential misuse or vandalism.

Residents, including Jacob Bobei from Nakitoeakwaan village, have already reported significant improvements in water quality and accessibility. The technology has eliminated the need for residents and their livestock to compete for water at communal pumps. Now, water can be conveniently accessed through taps located near their homes, enhancing both human and animal welfare.

The introduction of the elevated hand pump technology not only reduces the physical strain associated with water collection but also allows boreholes to recharge more effectively, thereby increasing the overall water yield and ensuring sustainable water supply for the Turkana County communities.

Homa Bay Launches Ward-Based Seed Distribution to Bolster Food Security

HOMA BAY, Kenya — The Homa Bay County Government initiated a ward-based seed distribution program designed to enhance food security by supporting local farmers during this year’s planting season.

According to Kenya News Agency, the program is set to benefit approximately 54,000 farmers across the region.

The initiative provides farmers with 94,480 packets of seeds, encompassing 196,440 bags of maize and 116,000 bags of sorghum, marking an increase of 14,440 packets from last year’s distribution. Governor Wanga highlighted the program’s vital contribution to improving food security and the economic well-being of Homa Bay.

Emphasizing the county’s dedication to its agricultural sector, Wanga commended the farmers’ essential role in ensuring food sustainability and economic growth. She encouraged the farming community to make full use of the provided resources and to participate actively in transforming Homa Bay into a leading agricultural hub within the region.

Netherlands to Support Migori County’s Campaign Against Female Genital MutilationTurkana South Sub-County Launches 100-Acre Irrigation Project to Boost Farming

MIGORI, Kenya — The Dutch government has pledged to bolster Migori County’s ongoing efforts to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), enhancing the fight against the practice that infringes upon women’s rights. Dutch Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Maarten Brouwer, announced this commitment during a visit with Migori County Governor Ochillo Ayacko.

According to Kenya News Agency, the partnership will involve collaboration between the Dutch government, the European Union (EU), and other associated partners to mobilize resources and support Migori in combating FGM. Brouwer highlighted the importance of equality and the protection of women’s health as crucial elements in this initiative. In addition to addressing FGM, the Dutch embassy plans to engage with the county on green energy projects, focusing on solar power as a sustainable and clean energy source.

Brouwer also pointed out the strategic position of Migori County in benefiting from the East African Community integration, particularly through the development of the Isebania Sirare border post, funded by the EU. This initiative is expected to facilitate smoother movement between countries and promote free trade within the region.

Governor Ayacko expressed his gratitude for the support and indicated that Migori would collaborate with the Dutch in various sectors, including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and the blue economy, to foster socio-economic development in the county. This partnership aims to improve the living standards of residents and contribute to the region’s overall progress.

The announcement follows a recent visit by EU Ambassador Mrs. Henriette Geiger and ambassadors from Poland, Austria, Germany, and Sweden, who explored opportunities in Migori related to agriculture, livestock, the blue economy, and mining.

KATILU, Kenya — In a significant development aimed at bolstering agricultural output, approximately 400 farmers in Katilu, located in Turkana South Sub-County, are set to benefit from a newly rehabilitated 100-acre irrigation project. The initiative, undertaken by the County Government through the Department of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, aims to increase food production and support the region’s food security agenda.

According to Kenya News Agency, Jane Rose Tioko, the project was declared complete following an inspection tour, which confirmed that all contractual requirements had been fulfilled. The project’s primary goal is to enhance local farmers’ ability to produce food, with an emphasis on contributing to the county’s target of producing 300,000 bags of cereals.

The completed irrigation scheme includes significant improvements such as bush clearing along the main and sub-main canal corridors, construction of earth-lined compacted canals, ten division boxes with sluice gates, and five bridges. The county government plans to officially hand over the project to the local farming community after final inspections.

Tioko informed that in addition to the infrastructural upgrades, the county would provide farmers with training on best farming practices and distribute seeds and pesticides to maximize the benefits of the irrigation project. She also encouraged the farmers to consider groundnut cultivation, citing high market demand for quality nuts.

Highlighting the essential role of irrigation in achieving food security, the CCO announced that the Governor would soon commission the official handover of the project to the community. Meanwhile, Sammy Erumu, the Sub-county Agricultural Officer, addressed the challenge posed by the invasive prosopis plant, known locally as Mathenge, which threatens arable land. He called on farmers to aid the department in clearing the invasive species and to prevent livestock from entering the scheme area, ensuring the project’s sustainability and effectiveness.

The handover ceremony is anticipated to mark a new chapter in the region’s agricultural development, with the local government and community working closely to ensure the project’s success and the area’s movement towards food self-sufficiency.