Adapting to Climate Smart Agriculture pays off for Kulan Pastoralists

Written By: Super User Category: Blog

 Regional Agronomist Mr. Victor Kiprotich elated by Mr. Wardere’s great watermelon harvest

Pastoralists are known for seasonal movement as a part of their cultural tradition as herders of cattle, goats and camels. For many years they are used to making a living from their livestock. However, the dramatic changes in weather patterns that have increased prolonged drought is acting as a threat to their livelihoods. As a result of the climatic changes, more and more pastoral communities are forced to abandon their normal routine and embrace new tactics of survival.

 In Kulan, Dadaab, pastoralists are getting out of their comfort zones and embracing new tactics to survive the realities of a fast-changing climate that has rendered reliance on nomadic pastoralism untenable. They are partnering with Kenya Red Cross Society and IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) to implement Climate Smart Agriculture strategies to increase crop productivity. According to a statement by KRCS Disaster Risk Reduction Manager, Suada Ibrahim, building resilience is at the core of the Kenya Red Cross approach towards promoting food security. This project launched in 2016, has increased productivity and income, enhanced resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems, and improved water productivity and water use efficiency. 

Key aspects of Climate Smart Agriculture include efficient use of water for irrigation. The project has provided Kulan farmers with 75 cubic meters of elevated water tanks for water storage and drip irrigation. It has also promoted agroforestry, the growing of rain-fed drought-resistant crops such as sorghum and millet with high nutritional value and introduced diverse crops that have served as family dishes as well as being a source of income.

Among the two hundred farmers that have benefitted from the scheme is 40-year-old Hassan Wardere.  Hassan has become a role model in Kulan, attracting farmers from nearby villages who visit and learn from him on how to grow legumes, watermelon, bananas maize and guava through climate smart agriculture.

 “Through growing and selling of watermelon and maize, I can earn up to Ksh. 200,000 a year. This helps in taking care of my children’s education and other family expenses. Climate-smart farming is now my new way of life”, said Mr. Hassan. 

Climate Smart Project Agronomist, Mr. Victor Kiprotich said that as part of the project, farmers were also taught how to control pests and diseases that attack their farms. Among the smart ways being adopted include the use of torches at night to scare warthogs, use of cut iron sheets to scare away wild animals and birds, and use of neem tree leaves, ashes, bullet chillies and ginger as an organic way of controlling pest and diseases. 

Farmers are also supported during the production process through practical training on the solar-powered irrigation system, how to tackle challenges and resource management for longer system service to the community. This long-term approach has helped increase understanding and sustainability of climate-smart agriculture within the community.

 

By: Martha Awino- PR and Communications