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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The rains are here finally

By Collins Shahonya

Drought and sunny days throughout the month can be annoyingly disturbing. But with a sudden change of climate in the country and especially Kajiado County, it is a thing of the past for now. The long rains are here with us and are causing lots of havoc. 
a flooded road after a heavy downpour

As you walk through the large trucks of community land in Noosuyian village, tall and bushy grasses which are hiding places for mosquitoes and dangerous snakes are singing merrily to the lots of rain being received in the region. Gully erosion too has dug deep trenches that we could have never imagined.
vast land laying fallow in Noosuyian
But with the climate change posing more questions than answers to everyone from this community, a group of farmers have found it a blessing in disguise. Farming has thrived in this part of Isinya area. No one is taking chances and every drop of the rain has been utilized to realize a bumper harvest in everything they are planting ranging from chilies to maize.
maize almost ready for harvesting on the farm
And with a rumor that chilies are selling like hot cake and they are a potential cash crop to altering our financial muscles and economic growth, some farmers have opted for this cash generating crop which is making them smile all the way to the bank every two weeks.

The land is being leased for one to cultivate in it what he wants and parting away with Ksh. 30,000 for a piece of plot, probably measuring 60×100meters. The owner has decided to generate money from his own land than having it staying fallow.

The chili is practically seeded on a seedbed and after one and a half months, it is transferred to the shamba where it takes two months for one to start harvesting the first round of chilies.

chilies on the farm

Chili harvesting is done every two weeks and to keep them ‘appealing to the buyers eye’; they need a lot of farmyard manure which boosts its capability of flowering. The chili is then sold at Ksh. 80 per Kg, which is undeniably fair market price because they are heavy and a little of them scale down a Kilo very first.
crops on the farm

This has seen many being employed to take care of the cash crops hence earning themselves their daily bread. The weather man has encouraged people from this locality to plant more food which will put at bay hunger soon after the rains have dwindled.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Taming the climate change

By Monica Soila

The Climate Adaptation Project (CAPro) was started in October 2013, in Isinya by Egerton/Laikipia University to counter the adverse effects of climate change.
a tank for harvesting rainwater for drip irrigation

The project is carried out in five counties: Bungoma, Nakuru, Embu, Kajiado and Kilifi.It mostly work through demonstration plots and contact farmers. In Kajiado County the project is in two areas, Isinya and Namanga. There is a 1/2-acre demonstration plot in Multipurpose, Isinya where crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes, sorghum, maize, pigeon peas, just to mention a few, are grown.
sorghum planted in the demonstration plot
In Namanga, Galla goats are kept by the contact farmers, courtesy of the project.
sweet potatoes

This year, CAPro started seed bulking scheme  in Isinya whereby contact farmers were given katumani beans and green grams seeds, a kilogram of each after which they will return the 2 kg seeds to the project after harvesting so that other farmers around are issued with the same. This seeks to spread these drought resistant types of crops throughout the county. The seeds are of diverse varieties so the farmers were urged to exchange between themselves so as to have different crop varieties.
Mr.Benson Mwangi(extreme left),from Ministry of Agriculture with some of the contact farmers

 The community is changing and adopting to changing times because there is always a solution for everything.