Improved Crop Yields at Natoot Farm in Turkana County
With the help of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya and funds from Bright Hope International, SunCulture installed a drip irrigation system in a farm in Turkana County. The project is set up in a 3.8 Acre community-owned Natoot Farm which is located on the outskirts of Lodwar Town.
Lodwar is the largest town in north-west Kenya and is situated West of Lake Turkana. It is originally an agrarian society with their livelihood depending on farming and animal husbandry. The people of Turkana County have settled into a life of drought. Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, is where most of the county’s smallholder farmers get water for their farms.
The project, run by SunCulture, is introducing drip irrigation systems that will direct the water to crops and improve yields at Natoot farm. We take pride to share that SunCulture has an extensive role in changing the lives of the people in the drought-prone area through drip irrigation and solar energy.
Locals in Lodwar grow a few conventional crops. This project targeted 80 households as direct beneficiaries who planted watermelons, kales, and onions.
Challenges faced by the farmers of Turkana County are many. The Turkana natives traditionally are pastoralists. But, weather crises, especially drought, can make this unreliable and rob them of their livelihood. This region has high agricultural potential, but aridity hinders its use.
The erratic weather prevents farmers from planting their crops, leaving them vulnerable to outbreaks of crop diseases. Small and medium scale farmers often opt for rain-fed agriculture which is very risky due to semi-arid climatic conditions, rainfall and temperature.
Another issue is that recurring floods have tremendously affected the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Turkana county. Perennial flooding also occasionally affects Natoot farm.
Additionally, the illiteracy and poverty rate in Lodwar is high and increasing. Smallholders have inadequate information about the impact of the drip irrigation system on the growth of crops.
Besides, Lodwar currently has an electricity crisis. Around 35% of Lodwar citizens have access to electricity.
There has to be a solution…
SunCulture has installed drip irrigation systems in Natoot farm to boost agricultural production.
Drip Irrigation is a water delivery system for growing crops in debilitated soils, thus improving crop yields in the farm. Besides, it improves water efficiency, reduces costs, and decreases water loss.
A solar-powered irrigation system can help farmers achieve higher crop yields by using drip irrigation technology. With proper maintenance, drip irrigation tends to have higher yields than other forms of irrigation. Using water more efficiently is also very good for the environment. Drip irrigation helps prevent water from evaporating and reduces the amount of water that needs to be extracted from ground or surface water sources.
Often, this results in improved socio-economic livelihoods for smallholders as their produce gains in quality and quantity sold at the market.
With an irrigation system in place, farmers of Natoot farm can easily extract water from groundwater and irrigate their crops. They have enough water supply throughout the seasons which increases their crop yield, and ultimately income.
Conversations with farmers in Turkana often revolved around endless hardships. Droughts, floods, pests, diseases and stock loss can wipe out a family’s entire livelihood within a year.
Moreover, health issues are prevalent due to lack of food, water, toilets and little awareness of personal hygiene. The infant death rate is also high at 66 infant deaths per 1000 in the Turkana area.
The successful and bountiful harvest enables farmers to sell their produce in Lodwar town and enjoy the hard-earned income. Also, women can now provide healthy and nutritious food for their family. The overall impact of the project has been immensely assertive.
If you are interested to improve crop yield at your farm, you can call our number +254 700 327 002 to ask any doubts.