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Farmers make a living through pasture production

Farmers make a living through pasture production

Turkana

Thursday March 28,2024

KNA by Peter Gitonga

A group of 100 farmers from Namakat in Turkana south have embarked on fodder production groundbreaking journey towards sustainable farming.

Thanks to their collaboration with USAID Nawiri, they have expanded their fodder production efforts from initial 4 acres to 8 acres.

They now sell bales of fodder in the nearby markets and use mature pasture seeds to further expand their farms.

After a year of dedicated effort and determination, the farmers have successfully reclaimed additional 4 acres of land that was once dominated by the invasive Prospis Juli flora plant.

Their hard work has paid off, as they have managed to harvest an impressive 468 bales of Cenchrus Ciliaris grass.

The hardworking farmers have managed to sell more than1500 bales of pasture, at Sh350 each to the local community and Sh500 at the major towns of Lokichar, Kalemngorok and Lodwar earning them over Sh500,000.

Shadrack Ekitela, the Chairman of Namakat pasture production farm, is filled with joy and optimism as he witnesses the promising signs of prosperity emerging from their recent economic activity.

“You can’t compare pasture production with any other form of farming. Thanks to the initial certified seeds provided by the County, Department of Agriculture, and the training sessions facilitated by USAID Nawiri, we’re already witnessing promising strides towards economic prosperity, both collectively and individually.

Our recent sale of 250Kgs of pasture seeds at Sh 1,000 per Kg, resulting in earnings of Sh 250,000, reinforces our dedication to this endeavor. We fully understand the importance of pasture production and remain steadfast in our commitment,” he said.

According to Mr. Isaac Echapan, USAID Nawiri Resilient Livelihoods Officer for Turkana South, the decision to support households in Namakat with pasture production arose from the community’s urgent need to tackle ongoing pasture shortages. These shortages, exacerbated by frequent and prolonged droughts, have left livestock malnourished and unable to produce milk or fetch favorable prices in the market.

In order to address the water-related obstacles impeding agricultural potential, USAID Nawiri is constructing a shallow well in Namakat. This initiative aims to promote climate-smart agriculture and increase the area available for horticulture farming on the 4 additional reclaimed acres, while simultaneously improving pasture productivity in the remaining sections.

The farmers have also been provided with a storage facility where the remaining bales have been kept in anticipation of market availability thanks to their collaboration with the Kalemgorok Livestock Market Association.

It is noteworthy that during the few days that the animals would be kept in the saleyard facilities, the livestock dealers also purchase food for their animals to prevent them from wasting while they wait for the market.

Apart from this, USAID Nawiri has introduced the village savings and loan association concept to enable the farmers venture into various businesses with the money earned from seed sales.

One of the aspirations of the pasture producers is to acquire their own vehicle in the upcoming months, enabling them to transport fodder and seeds to potential buyers more efficiently.

“We’ve come a long way from depending on others for seedlings. With the skills we’ve acquired, we’re now self-reliant and prepared to oversee our pasture production. Soon, we’ll be independently managing our farming and business initiatives,” mentioned Shadrack.

Courtesy; KNA

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