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Farmers urged to sell livestock as hunger looms in three counties

By Erastus Mulwa - May 24th 2022
Government urged to put in place adequate mitigation measures to deal with looming food shortage. [File, Standard]

She also blamed the crisis on massive settlements and population pressure causing rampant environmental degradation.

“The situation in Ukambani has been aggravated by careless human activities such as interfering with forests and other critical water towers. What is left for the region is to adopt climate smart agricultural practices, including harvesting and storing of storm water,” Dr Nzilani said.

She advised government to promote change of mindset among local farmers and sensitise residents to embrace drought resistant crops with the help of research institutions such as Kari and Karlo.

“It is not too late to recover from this crisis. If our people could heed the call to plant more trees and conserve the environment, it is still possible to pull out of the mess in the coming years,” she said.

Her sentiments were echoed by senior environmental sciences lecturer at the University of Nairobi Dr John Musingi, who rooted for irrigation as a way of beating the erratic weather patterns in the region.

“We need to begin focusing on promoting irrigation-based farming instead of relying on rain fed agriculture if we have to remain food secure. National and county governments must map out all water catchment areas and set aside budgets to construct water pans to aid farmers,” said Dr Musingi.

Dr Musingi warned that the looming food shortage could be aggravated by the prevailing international crisis. “We are staring at a worse scenario, especially if the current war in Ukraine lingers. Food prices are likely to go up and the number of those at the risk of suffering will rise,” said Dr Musingi.

Former Yatta legislator Mr Francis Mwangangi urged the government to urgently construct the proposed Sh9 billion Yatta dam, which was initially positioned to feed the 52-kilometer Yatta canal in order to ensure uninterrupted water supply locally.

“The Yatta dam was supposed to address the shortage of farming water along the Yatta canal, but its construction has been halted by litigation regarding compensation. We urge the government to move swiftly and address the matter,” said Mr Mwangangi.

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