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Focus on choke weed, Lenku tells scientists

RIFT VALLEY
By Peterson Githaiga | November 22nd 2018
A woman tries to uproot Ipomoea weed at Kumpa area, Kajiado Central on 24th May 2018. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Scientists have been urged to speedily tackle a weed that is wrecking havoc in the county.

Governor Joseph ole Lenku said Ipomoea, locally known as forumltiameletei, had choked over one million acres of pasture.

The weed is spreading fast, especially in Kajiado Central and Kajiado East sub-counties, hindering the growth of pasture and thereby affecting livestock.

Mr Lenku told the scientists meeting at Umma University that the county government was ready to partner with researchers to eliminate the weed.

"We are ready to curb the spread of the weed as we support the new study by Umma University on cheaper and faster way to produce hay. Hay production is the next big thing. It is the fulcrum around which community resilience revolves in Kajiado," said Lenku.

Grazing land

The governor said the weed had affected 40 per cent of the county's grazing land and the effects were being felt in every household.

"Grazing land is shrinking every day. The weed is a county disaster," said Lenku

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The governor was speaking when he officially opened an international conference on sustainable livelihoods among pastoralist communities.

The theme of the one-week conference is "Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Dryland Environments in the era of Climate Change." It is jointly hosted by Umma University and the South Eastern Kenya University.

Umma Vice Chancellor Idle Farah said climate change had proved to be the greatest challenge facing sustainable livelihoods in arid and semi-arid areas.

"We are taking the lead in innovating climate smart responses to our daily challenges. "We are keen on helping Kajiado and lower eastern communities to boost food security and improve their resilience," said Dr Farah.

Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet who is also the chancellor of Umma University attended the event.

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