Officials in Wajir North are banking on horticulture to boost the fight against malnutrition through the production of vegetables.
The horticultural initiative is collaborative work involving the national, county government and non-state actors.
It encourages locals to produce their own vegetables and is sponsored by Sustainable Food Systems Program (SFSP), a non-governmental organisation.
The NGO is supported by the Wajir county government through the agriculture department. The hope is to enhance nutritional diversity and food security at a community level.
The project which depends on irrigation by water drawn from rain-fed water pans is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda on food security.
On February 3, a water pan constructed under the World Bank-funded Regional Pastoral Livestock Resilient Programme (RPLRP) was desilted to enable farmers to harvest more water for irrigation.
Speaking on Phone on Sunday, Resilience Programme County Coordinator, Omar Bulle, said Shalatey dam, which benefits over 800 households and put up at a cost of sh17million, provides water for household use, irrigation and livestock.
He said the water pan was desilted to remove sand clogging the water inlets and outlets to enable the community to harvest more water for irrigation as well as in anticipation of the long rains between March and May.
“The long rains will ensure replenishment of water in the pans which should sustain the community’s needs until the November-December short rains period,” Bulle said.
One of the beneficiaries, Fardowsa Mohamed, appreciates the project which has enabled locals, under the supervision of the agricultural extension staff, to put up kitchen gardens and greenhouses for the production of vegetables for household consumption as well as income generation.
Wajir North agricultural officer Sittey Hussein agrees with Fardowsa’s sentiments, saying the community has taken up and owned the project.
They are now able to produce nutritious vegetables such as tomatoes, kales, spinach and fruits such as watermelon among others, which will go a long way in alleviating and preventing malnutrition in the community, especially amongst children under the age of five.