Marsabit Farmers Urged to Form Groups to Benefit from Smart Climate Agriculture Project

Marsabit Farmers Urged to Form Groups to Benefit from Smart Climate Agriculture Project

Marsabit farmers urged to form groups to benefit from smart climate agriculture project

Abdikadir Chari

More than 500 groups in Marsabit county benefitted from smart climate agriculture project that seeks to promote agriculture and livestock farming for sustainable livelihoods.

Smart-climate agricultural project that was funded jointly by the Government of Kenya, World Bank and Marsabit County Government is changing the narrative in the county with many farmer groups targeted.

The project  trained farmer group on climate smart agriculture and provide the groups with material support such as certified drought-resistant seeds, farming inputs and animal supplements for increase productivity.

The project also provide grants to farmers that form groups and teach them modern agricultural farming methods.

The communities also trained on how to cope with the climate disasters in regard to natural resource and risk management in order to be self-reliant.

Speaking while issuing cheques worth KSH 9.74 million to Goro Roba group in Saku, the county executive committee member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Hussein Ali Hussein said financial assistance would help farmers to improve production, pointed out that in order to benefit from the project, farmers are require to form eligible groups.

The executive urged farmers to form groups in order to benefit from the various development projects by the government and Non-governmental organisations and the groups to submit their proposals for grants.

" Farmers should form groups to benefit from the project. Their proposals should focus on what they can do best ." he said

He added " we want farmers to get education in various agricultural activities to ensure food production improves."

He asked women to come together and register companies where they shall be able to apply for tenders.

He said 30 percent of the tenders are allocated to women , youth and people living with disability.

" Social and economic empowerment through various development programmes is paramount for a community's development." he said

He lauded the smart climate project for targeting women, youth and people living with disability who have traditionally been neglected.

He said the project addresses the climate resilient water management and climate resilient agricultural practices and support small-scale farmers in adopting to the negative impacts of climate change.

He said the project also works with Community driven initiatives such as village loaning and saving groups as well as community managed disaster and risk reduction groups to enhance the resilience of livelihoods and ecosystem to climate risk.

The CECM Agriculture said climate change remains a major threat to the sustainable development in the region with small-scale farmers bear the brunt of climate change.

He urged farmers to adopt modern agriculture to improve their income, saying the project team will provide training on updated skills.

He assured their full support of the project to make county one of the Kenya's food basket.

" Climate smart agriculture is the way to go as the globe is facing challenges resulting from climate change. Through the project, we are helping in improving the productivity of the less productive areas." he said

The CECM Agriculture also urged farmers to focus on creating water sources to revamp agricultural activities in the drought-stricken areas to end recurring hunger calamities.

He explained that creating water sources such as dams, water pans in the areas will go along way in providing water for irrigation, therefore enable residents to produce food to feed their families.

" The hunger problem has been recurring for many years. Why are we always depending on food aid and yet our lands are fertile. We need to find ways of practicing irrigation to produce food." he said

In efforts to boost farming activities in the county, the CEC member said the county government has bought tractors to help farmers to prepare their farm at a cheap price to boost production.

According to project coordinator Wato Denge Halakhe, the project deals with climate smart farming by creating agricultural sustainability and also increasing productivity.

He said the groups benefitted from the project are selected after thorough evaluation by a committee.

He said that application for grants are overwhelming as the project created positive impact in the region.

" After meeting with the set parameters which include membership of not less than 10 person, the groups are trained on the expectations of the projects." he said

Wato said high expectation among farmers is a major challenge they face while selecting the groups as most of them want to be given cash instead of inputs.

" The selection is based on the ability of the groups to sustain the project after its completion, availability of market with the group's locality and the previous group's history in project implementation also considered." he said

While commending Goro Roba group for their efforts, mr Wato said 70 percent of the support they get is used in purchasing farm inputs while other percentage is channeled towards alternative livelihood activities.

" I am glad that this group are keen on not only earning a living through selling vegetables but also improve nutritional standards." said Wato

Goro Roba group in Sagante Jaldesa ward is one of the groups that are now earning decent livelihood because of the project. The group which started three years ago by 30 members increase their members to over 400 and they aim to fight famine through kales farming. The group however hundred by the adverse climate condition and with the support from the smart climate project, they are now main suppliers in the region.

The group chair lady Bokayo Malicha attributes their success to the input by KCSAP in ensuring that they practice climate smart agriculture.

She says that the project previously give them 1 million grant and with now 9.7 million, it would change their lives.

The group member Somo Wario said the climate change has rendered chunks of their lands unproductive. The Goro Roba group has however changed the narrative, thanks to smart climate agriculture project.

He said their group are now growing kales in large scale despite the harsh climatic conditions, saying they got drought resistance Kale's seeds  from smart climate project that thrives well in the area.

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