The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) recently launched a food sustainability initiative aimed at alleviating food shortage in Turkana county in Kenya. The new initiative involves the setting up of drip irrigation of five acres of land at a cost of 1.5 million and will be accomplished with money donated by the Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation (KCB).
Speaking during the signing of the partnership agreement in Nairobi yesterday, the USADF's regional representative in Kenya Timothy Nzioka said the initiative is set to help reduce food insecurity and perennial starvation in the region while at the same time promoting alternative income generating activities for the local communities of the impoverished Northern Kenya region.
"We must think of a sustainable operation that can help the people of Turkana from the perennial drought," he said. The initiative is in line with the Comprehensive Africa Development Program whose goal is to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty in the continent through agriculture.
The KCB Foundation chairperson Catherine Kola said the county is set to to record renewal of land under cultivation and the provision of supplementary nutritive food sources to feed its people.
"Turkana has the potential of growing enough food for local consumption and surplus for export to other areas. This is a great opportunity to promote agribusiness in the area to compliment the current reliance on livestock," said Kola.
Turkana has recently been identified as the "richest county in Kenya" following the discovery of oil and an aquifer. Kola however said, River Turkwel remains under-utilized despite its potential in supporting food sustainability in the county through irrigation. "Majority of the residents are too poor to spend their little income on capital intensive irrigation system to tap water from River Turkwel," she said.
In 2011, Turkana was hit by "worst drought in 60 years" putting the lives of at least 3.75 Kenyans at risk. This has seen the launch of what was dubbed as 'Kenya for Kenyans" initiative by various corporate institutions with at least 1 billion contributed in cash and kind. To read more, click HERE.