Kulan Pastoralists Embrace Climate-Smart Agriculture
Pastoralists are known for seasonal movement as a part of their cultural tradition as herders of cattle, goats and camels. For many years they are used to making a living from their livestock. However, the dramatic changes in weather patterns that has resulted in an increase of prolonged drought is acting as a threat to their livelihoods. As a result of the climatic changes, more and more people from Kulan pastoralist community are forced to abandon their normal routine and embrace new tactics of survival.
Today, the Kulan community have embraced Climate Smart Agriculture, Kenya Red Cross project in partnership with IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) funded by the World Bank and EU. According to a statement by KRCS Disaster Risk Reduction Manager, Suada Ibrahim, building resilience is at the core of Kenya Red Cross approach towards promoting food security. This project launched in 2016, has increased productivity and income, enhanced resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems, and improved water productivity and water use efficiency.
The Climate Smart Agriculture has improved water use efficiency through the provision of 75 cubic meters elevated water tank for water storage and drip irrigation. A total of 80 drip kits and accessories have been installed covering 20 acres. The project has also promoted agroforestry, the growing of rain-fed drought resistant crops such as sorghum and millet with high nutritional value and introduced diverse crops that have served as family dish as well as a source of income generation.
Lives have been transformed by the project. Two hundred and Three farmers have adopted the improved climate smart farming techniques.
Meet Mr. Hassan Wardere, 40, who has a daily routine schedule of visiting his farm to monitor the progress of his crops. Today Hassan has become a role model in Kulan, attracting pastoralists from kulan community who visit and learn from him on how to grow legumes, watermelon, bananas maize and guava through climate-smart agriculture.
“Through growing and selling of watermelons and maize, I earn a total of Ksh. 200,000. This income has enabled me to pay school fees for my children and save for the future, said Mr. Hassan, adding that climate- smart farming is now his new way of life.”
Mrs. Abshira Arale, a fodder crop farmer earns Ksh. 150,000 per season of fodder grass. She no longer relays on rainfall for her fodder grass, through using the drip irrigation technique, she can grow grass throughout the seasons. She followed the agronomic instructions and within a short time, she was harvesting her first crop for the market. Her customers are animal keepers who visit her farm to buy feeds for the animals. She sells the fodder grass at ksh. 50 and ksh. 100 bales.
“Seasonal rainfall is now a thing of the past. We no longer receive rainfall as we used to. The earth dam that we relied on is now dry. I have no choice but to adapt to the new method of climate- smart agriculture”, said Abshira.
According to KRCS Project Officer and Agronomist, Mr. Victor Kiprotich, farmers are now adopting ways to control pests and diseases which include use of torches at night to scare warthogs, use of cut iron sheets to scare away wild animals and birds, and use of neem tree leaves, ashes, bullet chillies and ginger as an organic way of controlling pest and diseases.
At the start of the project, I received training from Kenya Red Cross Project Officer and Agronomist Mr. Victor Kiprotich which gave me the knowledge to plant Onions and fodder grass which have benefited my livestock and family, said Abdi Noor, farmer.
Farmers were supported throughout the production process through practical training on the solar powered irrigation system, how to tackle water shortage challenges and resource management for longer system service to the community. This long-term approach has helped increase understanding and sustainability of climate- smart agriculture within the community.