FAO launches data lab to improve food production in West Pokot

The European Union, through the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), has launched a Geographical Information System (GIS) laboratory in West Pokot County to help in land data collection.

The Sh20 million programme, to be run by FAO, aims to help marginalised counties identify fertile areas for food production and use land in a more resourceful way.

Speaking yesterday during the opening of the lab in Kapenguria, FAO Country Representative Gabriel Rugalema said the system would help in mapping of communal and digitize land information from the system that had been there from colonial time.

“The locals have been traveling to Eldoret and Nakuru to get land maps. They will now not waste time and money to go far to print their maps,” he said.

European Union Country Representative David Mwangi said the centre would help residents get information on development.

The GIS will also have information on Education, food availability, land, water, and health care.

Mr Mwangi said land matters in the region would even be handled through smartphone and the service centre "will be like Huduma centre".

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“The services will work for 24 hours. The County will eventually take ownership of the digital centre,” he said.

He reminded residents to let women and youths have equal access to land rights for investment. He urged the youth to be on the front line in conflict management.

“We want to help women and youth to access land and title deeds. Only four per cent of the land is registered under women. We want to move to 30 per cent,” he said.

The county's Governor John Lonyangapuo said the programme was timely and would help map mineral deposits sites.

Prof Lonyangapuo's Land Executive Francis Kitalawiyan commended the initiative saying it would make work easier.

“It will help in terms of service delivery and mapping to make sure we make policies because data will be available. This is a milestone,” he said.

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Food and Agricultural OrganisationFAOEuropean UnionData lab