By: Emily Mikwa
The livelihoods of the small holder farmers in Kisumu are steadily improving big time from the Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Projects.
This was noted during the two days field visit to the projects’ site by the Agricultural Committee Members of the County Assembly, led by the Chairperson Hon. Eunice Alando.
The objective of the field visit was to carry out the oversight role on how the appropriated public funds have been utilized as the project’s first phase comes to a close.
Hon. Alando thanked KCSAP for the support as she was impressed by the good works going on in Chiga irrigation scheme, Kaloo borehole and Rae irrigation scheme where the local farmers are utilizing the resources to produce horticultural crops, rice, maize and legumes for food and also earn income.
However, she requested KCSAP to reconsider the incomplete projects like Kaloka aquapark, the construction of dykes in Chiga scheme and desilting of Gem Rae canals. This she said would help farmers boost food security as farmers are now taking up farming as a business.
According to the Project Coordinator, Mr. Jackson Kachelo, the five-year term project was implemented in six wards within three sub counties in Kisumu.
The project had two components: the micro projects which gave grants to groups with membership of 20 – 30 beneficiaries.
The groups received a range of Ksh. 300,000 to 1million where a total of 255 groups received 197.4 million. The groups focused on the three main value chain such as chicken, Cassava and Sorghum.
The second component was the sub projects comprising irrigating schemes, borehole and water pans. Out of the 13 projects approved 9 have been successfully completed at a cost of 200million while four are incomplete. Among the four is the Kaloka aquapark in Seme Sub-County.
The irrigation schemes, boreholes and the water pans have covered over 5,000 households in providing water for domestic use, irrigation and watering livestock.
The project is also dealing with farmer producer organizations, 4 groups have benefited from 4.7 million grants and chicken basket handling chicken value chain has received 8.4millon to improve handling and value addition facilities.
The programme has since digitized 23,000 farmers for purposes of information sharing on issues like weather information.
On climate mitigation, the project focuses on tree cover, shade nets, drip irrigation, lining of canals that helps in water conservation. Farmers have also been advised to replace eucalyptus with gravellier trees. The boreholes are also solar powered to save on electricity bills.
Concerning the sustainability, the project coordinator is optimistic that the committees managing the irrigation schemes will keep them up and running, like in Rae scheme there is a dying cooperative and underutilized milling machine that with increased production such will be revived.
Chiga Rice Irrigation Scheme
The weir is complete and functional, helping farmers in rice production and water for domestic use. The weir comprises 2.3km lined canals, foot bridges, box culverts, main canal, secondary canal and division box constructed at a cost of Ksh. 28million.
According to the chairperson of the scheme, there are 8 blocs named A to H. He says the scheme is a game changer to the farmers. He says bloc A was called Lodwar before KCSAP constructed the weir since no farming could be done during drought but today the name has changed to Kitale.
He is also happy that mothers can access water for domestic use at home as compared to before when they used to walk 2km in search for water. However, they need access roads for transportation of their produce and dykes to mitigate floods during rains.
Gem Rae Irrigation Scheme
The weir is complete and functional with a constructed weir and lined canals hat provide water for irrigation to 400 acres of farm land. It was constructed at a cost of 32million. The County Government also invested 5.5million to construct access roads within the farmland.
According to the chairperson of the management committee, he admits that the project is assisting them a great deal, last season he said their production increased at 11% though they did not reach the maximum. He is optimistic that the yields will be better if they maximize the resources.
However, the challenge he said is siltation of the canals that causes water to flood the farms. He said dykes are also crucial in mitigating floods.
Kaloo Borehole in Nyakach Sub County
This borehole comprises elevated plastic tank of 5000 litters, fitted with solar panels and pump, ablution block and watering section for animals, shade nets and two water tanks of 3,000 litters each for horticulture. It is constructed to a tune of 7.2million from donor support and 3.8 contribution from the County Government.
The project provides water for domestic use, for watering livestock and for horticulture.
According to Jane Miganda a beneficiary from Nyalunya location, the project serves 6 locations Kolal Kinda, Kanyango upper,Nyalunya, jimo, Nyabola south B and Kaugwa. She says they used to have seasonal rivers hence could not access water easily and also could not farm throughout but thanks to KCSAP for the project that they can now farm vegetables and tomatoes and get better yields. The women no longer walk long distances in search for water as before.
Fredrick Ogada Aloo also a beneficiary admits that they as a group have benefited from the water and the shade nets. They can now plant kales and tomatoes and his life has changed that he can now farm throughout season and get food to eat and sell.
Caleb Odhiambo from Jimo said they used to walk 5kms to the lake in search for water for animals but today the source is quite close and many homesteads have connected to the borehole and they get constant supply of water right in their homes.
The solar pump he says has saved them from high electricity bills incurred when you use it to pump water and sometimes you may lack water when power is disconnected.
On sustainability, he said there is a connection fee charged and also those drawing water are charged affordable fee for maintenance even when donor support ends.