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Siaya farmer turns runoff into bountiful green harvest


Moses Oginga at his farm in Ogam village, Yimbo East ward in Siaya County. He uses road run-off water to irrigate his vegetable and fruit farm. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard].

For a long time, Ogam village has experienced severe drought after the long rains and flooding of farms and roads during the rainy seasons.

During the long rains, most roads in the village become impassable.

While many villagers decry the effects of the rains, one farmer has opted to take advantage of the runoff water.

Moses Oginga, a farmer in the village situated in Yimbo East, Bondo sub-county, harvests this water and uses it on his farm to grow crops and for domestic use. 


Moses Oginga. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard].

Oginga, whose farm is situated on the Nyamonye-Barkanyango road, has channelled the water from the road through a cut-off and stored it in ponds on his farm.

For a farmer from a village where water scarcity is a pressing issue, rainwater harvesting offers a reliable and accessible water source.

“This system reduces dependence on centralised water supply systems, which are often unreliable or inaccessible in remote areas like Ogam,” says Oginga.

Oginga, who has grown vegetables and fruits on his half-acre farm, says this is a low-cost technique that can be embraced by local farmers.

“This technique has also increased the soil moisture, and water is now accessible for the diverse crops on my farm,” he adds. 


[Isaiah Gwengi, Standard].

The farmer, who has turned rain from a curse into a tremendous blessing, tells Smart Harvest that before this intervention, he used to travel long distances in search of water to irrigate his crops.

This, he says, was too expensive and unsustainable for most of the farmers.

With napier grass planted along the ponds, Oginga says it helps control runoff water and soil erosion during heavy rainfall.

Oginga, who is just a few days away from harvesting his tomatoes, says that the practice has not only allowed his farm to flourish but has also generated sufficient income to support his children’s education. “I look forward to harvesting my tomatoes and bananas in a few days. I project an income of not less than Sh100,000,” he explains.

With several stalled or failed irrigation schemes in the county, Oginga’s irrigation system involves using a water pump to pump water from the pond to the top of the farm.

“Water harvesting emerges as a golden solution that is transforming the agricultural landscape and empowering farmers to overcome the challenges posed by the region’s climate,” he tells Smart Harvest. 


Moses Oginga. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard].

While Governor James Orengo’s administration, through the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) for 2023-2027, targets to increase acreage under irrigation to 3,215 from the current 1,200 acres, Oginga says water harvesting for irrigation has not been considered before the roads in the county are designed. He adds that instead of runoff water being guided to the right places and harvested to help farmers irrigate their crops and increase food production, it results in massive destruction.

“Budgetary allocations and the design of our roads should be adjusted to incorporate water harvesting in order to solve the water problem in our region,” he suggests.

With the innovative technique, Oginga’s future plans include training his community, particularly focusing on educating the youth on alternative ways of mitigating climate change.

“This technique also helps in addressing the issue of soil erosion, which is a big problem in this part of the county, and helps in mitigating the effects of climate change,” says Oginga. 

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