BY CAROLINE KALIWA
Seventy-one percent of Kwaleans lived under poverty level before devolution and this has been a result of poor rainfalls caused by climate change.
Climate change termed to be the major contributing factor of food insecurity in the county.
This is clearly seen in all sub _counties but the mostly affected being kinango and LungaLunga.
Despite the national and the county government of kwale putting measures to boost food security Lungalunga and Kinango subcounties are widely known of receiving inadequate rains each year.
Emmanuel Mwayaya Munyika a resident from Kazamoyo village Kinango subcounty said the area is not fit for agriculture.
“The county government provides inputs every season but we end up in a big loss, this is a semi arid area and rain distribution is very poor, we depend on charcoal businesses for survival and this is also a challenge because there are not tree so life is here is not easy, as you can see we tried our best to bring food on the table but all crops are dry because of lack of enough rainfalls,” said Mr. Munyika.
A resident in maledi village ,mwereni ward lungalunga sub_county echoed Mr. Munyika.
“Kinango and LungaLunga face the same challenges we depend on charcoal businesses but since the government banned cutting down of trees we are experiencing hard times, we are trying to plant each season but we end up getting nothing,”she added.
National drought management authority (NDMA) survey states that Kwale County is food insecure following poor rainfall distribution.
Roman Shera NDMA cordinator Kwale County said that in LungaLunga subcounty Vanga and Mwereni are the most affected areas.
” In vanga floods experienced each year cause food insecurity because most farms are destroyed and in Mwereni area is poor rainfalls in Msambweni subcounty the upper part of Kinondo and Tsimba/golini area of matuga and the whole of Kinango recieves poor rainfalls hence causing food insecurity,” said Mr. Shera.
“The county government must come up with Climate Change Act to curb all these challenges and pave way for agricultural activities,” he added.
At the same time he urged LungaLunga and Kinango to embrace live stock keeping.
“Kinango and LungaLunga is not fit for agricultural activities due to poor rainfalls but livestocks can do better, when we say agriculture does not mean crop planting only but also keeping enough livestock is fit to boost food security,” lamented the coordinator.
Since 2013 when the county government chipped in a lot of projects to boost food security kicked off but unfortunately long drought periods are still experienced.
Kwale county governor Salim Mvurya ensured all farmers from poor backgrounds received free inputs.
“We bought tractors that will be cultivating an acre for farmers from poor families across the county without any charges and we are giving them inputs, all these efforts is to ensure we have enough food in our table,” said the Governor.
At the same time the county government of Kwale started a project of constructing dams for farmers to harvest water and succeed irrigation farming for agribusiness.
“Let the farmers also focus on agribusiness, if there is enough water we can do irrigation farming and boost our livelihoods, already the national government, world bank and Safaricom Foundation has supported us with construction of Nyalani Dam and over six thousand people benefit directly with the dam, small scale farmers picked up the idea of irrigation farming and as of now we have plenty of vegetables both for home use and for markets,” added Mr.Mvurya.
He said the construction of Multi Million water project at Mwache will boost food security in the semi arid area.
“Once Mwache Dam project is complete Kinango and Kwale county at large will not suffer for food and water any more if the rains will be consistent, we have done a lot with partners to boost food security but rainfall distribution has been a major challenge,” posed Mr. Mvurya.
Mvurya said the county also distribute cross breeding livestocks to mixed farmers.
“Most of our farmers have local breeds but instead we are giving them the improved bulls and cows, goats to ensure they get meat and milk for sell and be able to sustain their families,” he said.
On the other hand the national government initiated a blue economy project at coast region to ensure people benefit from the sea.
Already the construction of Blue Economy Institute at Kichakamatsa in Kwale County is on going, the institute will offer courses across Africa.
Kenya Forest Services director Julius Kamau urged Kwale residents to embrace mangrove planting across the ocean to boost blue economy activities.
“Let us not cut down mangrove but instead we plant more trees because mangrove has a lot of benefits to human beings, if we have no mangrove we will not be able to have fish, carbon activities will be shut down and also no tourists will be coming to our beaches and this will affect our economy,” said the director.