Wajir making bold steps towards food security, community development

Wajir Governor Mohammed Abdi Mohamud.
Abdi Amin is tending his vegetable and fruits farm on the outskirts of Wajir Town and he is a happy man because on this day he is actually harvesting tomatoes ready to supply to the market.

He is not alone but with another 200 farmers who are busy toiling to provide food to the Wajir town, that is the headquarters of the county.

The farmers are beneficiaries of drip irrigation technology introduced through the Agriculture Ministry of the county government in this semi-arid part of Kenya.

“Before the irrigation project we had major challenges having to draw water from wells using buckets and jerry cans,” says Abdi whose fortunes have changed considerably since the pilot project started a few years ago.

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Other than tomatoes the farmers are growing onions, watermelons, pepper, kales, and cabbages among other vegetable varieties that one can now easily find in the open and street markets of Wajir.

The county has embarked on dairy farming with 20 graded cattle already providing milk to the residents in addition to poultry farming.

“Many people in Wajir do not trust packet milk. So, our milk is so popular and there is a need to have more people engage in dairy farming,” says Omar Shuria a resident of Wajir.

“We are in the process of expanding the irrigation project to ensure food security for our people,” says Wajir Governor Mohammed Abdi Mohamud.

According to the Governor, the county has embarked on an ambitious water and sewerage project 10 km from Wajir town that is set to draw water from the Oaso Ngi’ro basin of Merti and Habasweni belt through the Wajir Water and Sewerage Company (WajWASCO).

One of the biggest health hazards in Wajir is contaminated water drawn from shallow wells as a result of a shallow water table.

This is because of lack of a proper sewerage system. Over the years well waters have been contaminated by human waste making water-borne diseases rampant in Wajir. This happens especially during short rains season.

“It is difficult for us especially the fact that there are few boreholes, so majority have no option but to use this contaminated water,” says another resident Ali Hussein.

But it is not just human waste that is causing health nightmares to the people of Wajir. There have been recent reports of cancer and renal diseases suspected to be caused by nuclear waste dumping in the area of Ademasajida and Arbijan.

 “As a county government, we want to petition the National Environment Management Authority and other agencies to undertake a thorough investigation into the allegation of nuclear dumping in Ademasajida,” says the Wajir Governor.

In the meantime, the county government has installed ultra-modern renal equipment at the County hospital to mitigate the many cases of renal diseases reported.

The Governor says he is proud of the successful satellite blood bank initiative that has seen lives saved across the county based on a new Geospatial Information System (GIS) built with the support of Mercy Corps.

The government has allocated 20 per cent of its annual budget to health programmes as a way of prioritising emerging and perennial health issues.

As a matter of fact, Sh350 million has been earmarked for the establishment of a health complex in Wajir with C.T scan, Intensive care unit, and Pediatric nursery, maternity as well as mother and child unit.

“This will reduce the high costs that residents incur when they travel to Nairobi to seek medical services that we can provide in the County,” says Governor Mohammed.

The strategy is also to train more medical personnel who would be at the new facilities when they are finally built.

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Governor Mohammed Abdi MohamudWajirFood SecurityIrrigation