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Unpredictable rainfall triggers water harvesting among small holder farmers

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Evance Kongai in his already installed damliner. Most small holder farmers have adopted simple and effective ways to harvest and conserve water for farming. 

The wave of climatic change that has caused unpredictable and untimely rainfall in most parts of Kenya has seen many small scale farmers shift focus to water harvesting as the only remedy.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources -Meteorological Department, this year’s March-May long rains distribution, both in time and space, was generally poor over most parts of the country including the western and central regions. The seasonal rainfall onset was very late over the entire country with most areas remaining sunny and dry.

In order to avert the impacts caused by this untimely and inadequate rainfall, small holder farmers especially in western, rift valley and central Kenya have decided to conserve water by adopting simple conservation strategies. 

These farmers build and install damliners, water tanks and sand dams during the rainy season to collect enough water to irrigate their farms and water their livestock when dry spell approaches.

Evans Kongai is a farmer in Mawawa ward Nyamira County. He does his horticulture and livestock farming in his four acres piece of land but unreliable and untimely rainfall pushed him to spend more than Sh30, 000 fetching water to support his agricultural activities.

“Small amount of rainfall nowadays forces me to fetch water a kilometer away using hired donkeys to irrigate my farm and water my livestock,” said Kongai.

However, Kongai has just completed digging and installing his 5x8x2 damliner and 1000 litres tank of water something which cost him Sh11, 000.

Owing support from an agro financier, he is happy that his expenses will reduce and increase his income as he will maintain his steady produce and sales of his watermelon, kales, and indigenous vegetables like spider flower.

“During the coming seasons I expect more produce because of these water harvesting plans I have put in place,” he said.

Victor Agisa is an engineer-cum-farmer based in Nyeri but extends his services to Nakuru and Eldoret. For the past six months he says he has been able to supply and install dam liners with drip kits and water tanks for over 50 farmers for purposes of water harvesting.

“I am happy that farmers especially small scale farmers have taken water harvesting seriously given a good number of them I have interacted with and helped install water harvesting kits,” said Agisa.


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