Rain harvesting helps farmer reap cash from greenhouse
Posted Monday, March 26 2012 at 18:12
However, Mr Waweru says that he does not regret venturing into farming, which he says anyone could engage in for a living since the monetary reward is huge.
Rainwater harvesting is the most effective way to end perennial water shortages experienced in the country.
It is an easy and cheap method that can be implemented by greenhouse farmers who require a lot of water to irrigate their farms or any household for domestic use.
“It is a simple and low-cost water supply technique that can easily be used by every household and thus reduce water and sanitation challenges experienced in Kenya,” said Mr Andrew Njogu, the principal meteorologist at the Meteorological Department.
If harvested and stored well, rainwater can be able to save households up to 60 per cent of water needed for domestic use since farmers need not to depend on treated water supplied by local authorities or companies. It could also complement tap water, whose erratic supply makes it unreliable for farming.
Although some greenhouse farmers prefer to use borehole water, rainfall is the best since it is eco-friendly.
However, farmers are yet to fully exploit the high rainfall received during the wet season.
According to the UN, Kenya ranks 21 among countries with worst portable water access in the world indicating the depth of water insufficiency in the country. Schools are worst hit with 70 per cent without tap water supply.
To alleviate the shortage of water, companies and stakeholders have come out to support communities to take advantage of the heavy rain expected this season.
Coca Cola Company, for instance, convened a two-day symposium at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, last week to encourage water harvesting practice in Kenya.
The company has committed $30million for water projects in the next five years and would work with relevant government ministries to implement it.
“We have initiated discussions with the Ministry of Education so that they can help us identify schools where we can set up model rainwater harvesting centres,” said Norah Odwesso public affairs and communications director at Coca-Cola Central, West and East Africa.
“We appeal to like-minded entities to join us and support setting up model schools in every county in Kenya. This is not a goal we can achieve on our own.”
Prof Bancy Mati, the director of Water Research and Resource Centre at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who attended the session, said that at harvesting at least 15 per cent of rainwater annually could see water secure Kenya.