CDA trains farmers on agricultural practices as it plans more trees for Chakama
By Fredrick Obura | September 7th 2020
MALINDI, KENYA: The Coast Development Authority (CDA) is planning to plant more trees in Kilifi County’s Chakama area to boost livelihoods and fight the effects of climate change in the region.
The Authority in an earlier phase planted 1.3 million cassaurian trees in its demonstration farm. About five years ago, CDA was honoured to host President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Chakama Irrigation Scheme to showcase the project.
The president hailed the tree project as a game-changer in the fight against climate change. It comes at a time when Kenya is planning to increase the forest cover from current 7.2 per cent to 10 per cent by 2022.
According to area residents, the effect of the tree project in the region is many, including the influence of the weather pattern. Previously Chakama was a very dry area with minimal rainfall because of no tree cover however that has changed and today people in the area receive adequate rainfall.
A farmer in the area, Jane Mabosha noted that since the project started in 2012 her standard of living has improved.
In an interview, she says she is now a better farmer thanks to CDA for farming tips she acquired from training during the initial implementation of the project.
“Initially, I practised farming on a small scale, I have been able to upgrade, and moving away from rain-fed farming into irrigation through the income from the CDA’s Chakama project. My family is now stable” she quipped.
Peter Malia is also full of praise to the CDA because he has a decent home. Mr.Malia said that he got to purchase Cassaurina logs from the Authority at a good bargain which he used to build homes with.
‘’We got a good bargain from the trees that were uprooted and built decent homes” previously most of us had grass-thatched houses,” he said adding that he is happy to hear CDA is undertaking phase two of the project.
He said that by replanting the Cassaurina more people will continue to benefit from the project.
The youths in the area are thankful to CDA because once the project commences they will get jobs. The Authority also sells them the logs at a fair price.
Chakama smallholder irrigation project is one of the three projects that are undertaken by the Authority in the region to improve food security.
The Coast Development Authority Managing Director Dr Mohammed Keinan says the purpose of the project is to increase food security through the promotion of irrigation farming among smallholder farmers thereby building their resilience to climate change, increase food security thus improve their living standards.
He expressed excitement with the continued partnership between CDA and the Chakama farmers. He said the 218-acre land being used for the project is primarily owned by the community in the area who, who have been trained by CDA on good agricultural practices and irrigation farming.
Dr Keinan commended the residents for their effort and commitment during the implementation of the project citing the positive changes that would take place in the area. He said although most crops grown are for subsistence, use there is a ready market in Malindi and Mombasa in case of excess surplus.
He said efforts towards changing the lives of the inhabitants of the area started in 1969 but little has been achieved until CDA surveyed in 2007 at the Coast to identify areas that could be supported to undertake modern farming practices and Chakama was identified as one of such areas.
Dr. Keinan said CDA is ready to replicate the project in other arid areas in the coastal region as the focus shifts from rain-fed agriculture irrigation to stem food crisis.
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