Turkana County Tries to Solve Malnutrition through Agriculture

TURKANA: Residents urged to embrace challenged to agri-nutrition to tackle malnutrition

PIC 1: Residents of Lorugum Lolupe village in Loima Sub-County pose for a photo in a vegatable farm.

Residents of Turkana County have been urged to embrace nutrition sensitive agriculture to address manageable causes of high cases of malnutrition.

The County Agriculture Executive Chris Aletia said the devolved unit was in the process of working on several agrinutrition farms to act as demonstration farms for locals who are primarily pastoralists.

 

 

 

PIC 2: Mr Hironori Inoue from Japan International Cooperation Agency (centre) with Turkana County Agriculture Executive Chris Aletia (far right) in a vegatable farm. Photo courtesy

Mr Aletia said that poor diet due to over reliance on livestock for food and frequent drought resulted to malnutrition.

“As a county, we have the interests of our people at heart and that is why we want to boost their health through farms like Lolupe to grow different varieties of vegetables and fruits,” said the CeC.

He said that embracing such farms will also help boost food security as well as sources of income for passionate farmers.

A lush vegetable garden in Turkana County

Mr Aletia said that the county government was partnering with stakeholders such as Food Agriculture(FAO) Organization, German Development Agency GIZ and World Food Program(WFP) to address to promote farming in the pastoral region.

Addressing farmers during the Commissioning of Agrinutrition food security project in Lorugum Lolupe village Loima sub countyLoima, Aletia said that the Department of Agriculture was committed to support farmers access markets like local schools and organization for their produce to increase income streams for many who are traditionally pastoralists.

He said agriculture officers would offer extension services to farmers and also impart knowledge on modern farming technologies.

He assured farmers that the government through its crop officers will spray fall armyworm and other insects that are a threat to vegetables in the Lolupe agri-nutrition farm.

To sustain farmers, Aletia said that the County Government together with World Food Program (WFP) will distribute assorted food that include sorghum, rice, pulses and vegetable oil to support them under the Sustainable Food System Programme( SFSP) and enable farmers withstand shocks as part of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction for enhanced food and nutrition security.

While lauding Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for introducing technology of Zai pits that is being implemented in the farm CECM Aletia revealed that Africare Organization will drill a borehole to supplement farming activities at the one acre lolupe farm that is supporting 100 households in Turkwell ward.

On the ongoing mass vaccination and treatment of livestock ,CECM Aletia said that the exercise is ongoing very well and that the Veterinary officers have been informed to make sure that all animals targeted are covered.

“The supplementary livestock feeds that the Ministry had procured to support livestock feeds during the drought season and was planning to give out had been postponed to a later date when rains will subsidize,” he explained.

Agriculture Deputy Director Paul Lokone said that decision to establish agri-nutrition farms that is basically for horticultural crops was informed by its market availability, quick maturity and ministry idea of diversifying sources of livelihoods apart from pastoralism.

CECM Aletia together with other ministry officials later gave the vegetables that they bought from the farmers to the nearby Turwell primary school and informed the administration on the availability of vegetables in Lolupe and more importantly the need to promote the local farmers through buying their farm products.

Other wards with similar agrinutrition plots include; Lokichar,Kalapata,Lapur ,Lodwar township and Lokori/kochodin.Also present during the commissioning event was Mr Hironori Inoue,the representative from Japan International Cooperation agency.

By Isah Asesa

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