Irrigation scheme that feeds Lodwar town during pandemic period

31st Jul, 2020

When Covid-19 struck the country some months ago, a group of residents in Turkana County turned to farming since many businesses got disrupted.

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Many businesses suffered due to the strict guidelines introduced by the government.

Natoot Irrigation Scheme in Kanamkemer, Turkana Central, which took off at the onset of the pandemic, is now the major supplier of vegetables in Lodwar town.

The irrigation project has brought hope in an area where residents relied on agricultural produce from as far as Kitale in Trans Nzoia County – some 300km away.

The five-acre piece of land was initially donated to the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK) by the community. However, the church could not fully utilise it due to locust invasion.

Before a lasting solution to the locust invasion could be found, Covid-19 struck, and in its wake shortage of food.

A group of at least 20 farmers embarked on producing tomatoes, onions, and kales among other vegetables. 

The land was subdivided among the farmers who initially used it for small-scale farming to sustain their families, but this has now been turned into a commercial venture.

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According Margaret Ekayen, restaurant owners and residents are now flocking to the farm to buy their produce.

“We were used to food donations through the government’s relief programmes and handouts from well-wishers,” Ms Ekayen said.

Victor Juma, the director of Bright Hope International, a humanitarian organisation that has partnered with FGCK in the project, said availability of water for irrigation is a big boost.

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