Rapid desertification in Kenya threatening livelihood
SEE ALSO : EPZ boss now protests Nema exerciseThe continued loss of very fertile soils in the country because of the increased demand for land occasioning settlement in very fragile ecosystems like in hilly places, riparian areas. Deforestation, and over grazing due to unsustainable livestock husbandry among others are other problems experienced in the ASALs. This year’s theme was “Droughts and Water Scarcity: Fresh water is valuable” and the slogan “Don’t let our future dry up’. “Nema faces a challenge in stopping deforestation which is made even worse because of the poor farming methods and the effect of climate change. All these have combined to increase the rate of desertification in the country. We must curb desertification in this county and other affected areas by all means,” said Wahungu. Various environmental challenges within the Elgeyo Marakwet County have been noted which include increased natural habitat loss, soil erosion, proliferation of invasive species (Prosopis juliflora), deforestation particularly the Mau and Cherangani Forests, overgrazing and unsustainable exploitation of the mineral resources. Other issues are; poor waste management especially in urban areas, degenerating tourist and historical sites, flooding, droughts and poor farming methods among others. All these have a potential to affect sustainable development if not addressed.
SEE ALSO :NEMA shuts abattoir over pollutionAt the micro-level of development, the conservation of the River Kerio and Lake Kamnarok will contribute to improved livelihoods of the people while the conservation of the forests; Kerio, Cherangani and Kaptagat will contribute to increased rainfall in the area and this will translate into enhanced productivity of the land. And on his part, Nema Board of Managament Chair Maluki Mwenda said that food scarcity cannot be delinked from desertification as large swathes of hitherto productive agricultural land continue to give less and less, as a result of adverse weather conditions brought about by climate change and other man made factors. “The fact that desertification is spreading fast in Kenya is cause for alarm given that over 80 per cent of our land is ASAL. The pastoralists now move for longer distances not only in search of pasture but also to water their animals. Those forced migrations are potential sources of conflict,” said Mwenda.
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