For ages, the people of arid Tigania and Buuri areas in Meru County often relied on relief food from the State and aid agencies.
But now there is hope after the Meru County government sunk nearly 200 boreholes in the water-deficient regions, spurring agricultural activities.
Governor Kiraitu Murungi's administration has concentrated its borehole drilling projects in the five sub-counties of Tigania West, Tigania East, Buuri, Igembe Central and Igembe North, where perennial drought led to dependence on relief food.
The solar-powered boreholes now provide large amounts of water, and farmers can draw the commodity for use in their farms and homes.
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Farmers like Fidelis Mikwa, Hellen Kinya and James Ekiru have tapped into the reservoirs and directed the water to their farms, where they produce large amounts of tomatoes, onions and other vegetables and high value crops.
“I used Sh120,000 to lay a three kilometre pipeline to my farm. Before I just used to grow maize because there was no sufficient water. Now I have Sh3 million worth of fish in the ponds,” said Mikwa.
Ekiru said the new boreholes have offered relief and he and others now do not have to wait for elusive rain to cultivate and plant.
The farmers use the Kabutukei Community borehole in Buuri, which releases large volumes of water that they do not have to pump.
“I have planted tomatoes, onions, kale, cabbage and other vegetables on two and a half acres. I sell a kilo of tomatoes at Sh50. I can say I am making good money and I am able to take care of my family’s needs,” said Ekiru.
Jackson Murombo, the chairman of Murombo Community borehole in Tigania West, said the 198 members contributed Sh2,500 each for pipes and now they have clean water in their homesteads.
“We raised Sh500,000 to lay pipes to our homes. Our families now have water and can use it to grow vegetables and other crops,” he said.
Kiraitu, his deputy Titus Ntuchiu and Chief of Staff Gideon Kimathi, on a tour of the farms, lamented that some solar panels had been stolen and asked the community to be good custodians