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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

ALIN launches Matwiku Horticulture project

By Bob Aston

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) on January 30, 2015 launched Matwiku Horticulture project in Githiga Ward, Laikipia West. ALIN in partnership with Act Change Transform (Act!), with financial support from Department for International Development (DFID) and Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) is implementing a climate smart agriculture project in Laikipia County. The project supported Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help group to set up a drip irrigation system for horticultural production.
Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group has planted tomatoes, capsicum and kales in a one acre demonstration farm. They have already been taught about plant protection, harvesting, value addition and marketing. They are now learning how to use drip irrigation technology to produce nutritious food.
Farmers being trained on best agricultural practices

Speaking during the project launch, Mr. Noah Lusaka, ALIN Project Manager said that the launch and field day aimed to demonstrate to communities and stakeholders the various opportunities in food production using minimal water resources and appropriate technologies as an adaptation strategy to climate change.

He noted that the project which is also being implemented in Kajiado and Baringo counties has already started producing positive results particularly in Kajiado County. He said that the Kajiado county group has already harvested once and the group members have now started improving their livelihood.
”The group has realized a drastic reduction in use of fuel for pumping water. This has reduced emissions and also reduced time spent irrigating the farm,” said Mr. Lusaka.
He urged the county government to replicate the project in other parts of the County in order to mitigate the effects of climate change as well as increase food production. He said that the project has so far cost in excess of Ksh 300,000 and is set to end by March of this year.
On his part, Mr. James Kamau, Ol-Moran ward agriculture officer, stressed on the importance of drip irrigation as a way of conserving water resources. He noted the importance of Climate Smart Agriculture as a way of mitigating against the effects of climate change.
Farmers being shown how drip irrigation works
He thanked ALIN for supporting the group noting that the project will act as a benchmark for other farmers in the County. He urged farmers to turn up in large number during such events in order to gain information which they can apply in their own farms.
“Climate change is real. Currently many sources of water have dried up in Laikipia County. It is now ideal to embrace modern irrigation technologies like drip irrigation as it does not waste a lot of water,” said Mr. Kamau.
During the launch and field day, farmers had the opportunity to learn more about Climate Smart Agriculture and best farming practices. Members of the group also taught farmers about the use of drip irrigation as compared to other types of irrigations being used in the area. Community members also had the opportunity to tour the demonstration farm and see for themselves what the group is doing.
The Matwiku Horticulture group activities focus on practicing Climate Smart Agriculture. This is agriculture aimed at reducing emissions at the farm level, conserving natural resources like soils and water while increasing nutritious food production at household level at the same time increasing family incomes. The project aims to strengthen communities’ resilience to impacts of climate change while conserving natural resources in Laikipia County.

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