The potentials of the semi-arid lands in Kenya are high but these more often get obscured by the more visible challenges. Yet there are significant amounts of inherent endowments that exist. The potential for growth is higher because the region requires a smaller amount of push as compared to arid zones. What has been lacking is targeted attention to the sub-region, and a proper understanding of its needs and potentials, and a deliberate commitment to address them. These zones have inherent potential which include land resources, unique ecosystems, human capital, Gender, youths, rainwater and ground water potential, agricultural potential, agro pastoralism opportunities, wildlife, ecotourism, ease of community engagement in development initiatives, diversification of livelihoods among other.
Indeed these are great potentials that exist in Kenya’s semi-arid zones that need to be explored to promote resilience livelihoods. This is the strong message that came out of workshop on Improvement of WFP Supported Rural Resilience Programme in Kenya’s semi-arid lands held in Voi and Spearhead by World Food Program in partnership with JKUAT through its Water Research and Resource Center (WARREC). The 3 day workshop started on 8th May 2018 and aimed sharing knowledge on how promote resilience in semi- arid lands.
Speaking during the workshop, Director WARREC Prof. Eng. Bancy Mati registed her strong passion that indeed lack of targeted attention, lack of proper understanding of the needs and potentials, not embracing right technologies coupled with lack of commitment to address issues in Semi-arid lands are the major hindrances to unlocking its potentials. Any hope for the future development of the semi- arid lands rests on finding an adequate solutions to these hindrances through enhanced partnership and collaboration. Said prof. Mati.
In his remarks Mr. Suan Head of Unit- WFP Rural Resilience applauded the partners for their support and corporation towards addressing the issues affecting vulnerable groups in semi-arids lands. Mr. Kamunge registered WFP’s commitment to improving resiliency livelihood among the vulnerable groups in an effort to achieve the Government’s commitment on Zero hunger through improved Food Security and Nutrition. –the poorest of the poor. He argued the participants to contribute positively towards development of the semi-arid land technical manual with best technologies that can work and work well.
Best crop production practices, Nutritional aspects, gender and extension, rangeland and livestock management took center stage with experts articulating for integrated approach to address the challenges facing the semi- arid lands in Kenya and tap the many opportunities that exist in these areas. On articulating nutrition requirements, Nutritional expert and Lecturer in Food Science and Technology Department, Dr. Florence Kyallo pointed out that requirements for the people in semi- arid areas must be met just like for every other people in Kenya.
The workshop was attended by many stakeholder from semi- arids Counties of Kenya namely; Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Makueni, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Kilifi, Turkana, Nairobi, National Government –Ministry of Agriculture. Organization represented include County and National Governments, NDMA, JKUAT, WFP among others.
JKUAT team was led by Prof. Bancy Mati Director WARREC, Dr. Florence Kyallo from the Department of Food Science and Technology, Prof. Stephen Githiri- Horticulture department, Mathew Kigomo of land resource Planning and Management Department (LRPM) and Mr. Wycliffe Nyangau from the Water Research and resource Center (WARREC).