Rebecca harvesting vegetables.

Climate-Resilient Technologies Enhancing Food Security in West Pokot

By building sustainable livelihoods of communities, we are increasing their capacity to cope with both conflict and climate-related shocks.

© Ferguson Olemarampa

DCA Kenya

In Kenya, and especially among pastoral communities, climate change heightens conflict and fragility by creating food and livelihood insecurity; increasing competition over resources such as water and land and forcing people to migrate. This in turn can attract marginalised youth to join armed groups which threaten regional and national stability.

In the expansive Rift Valley lies Kerio Valley, at an elevation of 1,000 metres above sea level. Most pastoralist communities reside at the floor of the valley owing to the dry thorn vegetation ideal for livestock feeding. However, factors such as overstocking and destruction of water catchment areas have compounded existing tensions, which easily escalate into violence or disrupt fragile peace processes. This in turn leaves communities poorer, less resilient, and ill equipped to cope with climate change impacts. Women are affected the most as they rely on their husbands’ livestock as the only source of livelihoods.

Targeting marginalized and vulnerable groups

Together with our partner, Anglican Development Services North Rift Region (ADS – NR), DanchurchAid (DCA) is implementing a Danida-funded project known as Strengthening Resilience among Agro pastoralists for Enhanced Livelihoods (STRAPEL), aimed at improving the resilience of communities to drought and other effects of climate change in the counties of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot. The project targets marginalized and vulnerable groups through interventions organized around Common Interest Groups (CIGs).

Rebecca feeding chicken.

Rebecca Kiptoo is one of the 2,948 project participants reached under the project as of December 2022. ADS-NR supports farmers’ groups with trainings on chicken farming, bee keeping, dairy goat farming, pasture establishment and post-harvest management, preparation of kitchen gardens and group governance amongst others. ADS-NR also provided farm inputs like certified vegetable seeds, poultry drinkers and feeders and bee hives through a cost-share model, where the groups contributed half of the price.

© Ferguson Olemarampa

Value addition through climate smart agriculture

In West Pokot, where Rebecca lives, families only rear a local breed of goats which mostly produce a cup of milk at best and does not fetch a high price when sold in the local markets. In a bid to increase goat productivity, profitability and food security, ADS-NR introduced ten hybrid dairy goats (alpine breed) to each group of about 20 farmers.  This breed is preferred because they can survive drought, mature faster, and have a higher resistance to diseases as compared to the indigenous breed.

We received nine female and one male Galla goats in our groups and whenever the female gives birth, we give the kid to a member who did not get in the first round. Galla goats mature faster and give birth twice a year. Within one year, each group member owned a goat. If it were the ordinary breed, it would have taken longer time to mature and give birth.
Rebecca Kiptoo
Galla goat breed at Rebecca's farm.

The farmers were trained to grow fruit trees like mango, orange and lemon, as well as indigenous trees used to conserve water. Apart from conserving the environment, these trees also provide an alternative source of income. The farmers were advised on drought tolerant and early maturing crop varieties. After receiving trainings on poultry management, the groups were linked to 1-day old chick suppliers and trained on water harvesting techniques.

Building Communities’ Sustainable Livelihoods

In the past, Rebecca would send her children to buy vegetables in Sigor market, 20 kilometres from her home. Apart from the exhausting distance, different forms of dangers always lurk on the meandering dusty path leading to the market. Sometimes, the traders do not have the produce to sell due to periodic drought. The daily journeys would see her children get a very limited time to study.

Now I get to produce like fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and eggs from my farm. We consume some at home and I sell the rest in the market linked to us by ADS-NR. Now I have many sources of income thanks to the project. I have developed and expanded my farm further, I pay fees for my children and do other projects like building a perimeter wall around my farm
Rebecca Kiptoo

Rebecca has expanded her farm to include other animals such as Dorper sheep and Sahiwal cows. She also keeps two ducklings and has started a fruit nursery where she sells tree seedlings to other farmers. From selling her farm produce, Rebecca can buy animal drugs and supportive treatments, contribute to her saving group and buy foodstuff.

By building sustainable livelihoods of communities, we are increasing their capacity to cope with both conflict and climate-related shocks and stresses. ADS-NR is advising farmers to adopt relevant technologies

Paving the way for the future?

Building on her success, Rebecca would like to produce and use biogas in future, as a climate friendly alternative for cooking fuel. She advises other farmers to embrace changes and adapt to new ways, and to join groups where they can exchange farming ideas and learn from each other.

Twitter LinkedIn Facebook