Regenerative agriculture offers Kenya path to combating drought

Margaret Chepkoech, plants a tree seedling during the 2021 Kaptagat Forest Annual Tree Planting exercise. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Drought has long been a recurring crisis in Kenya, resulting in severe economic, social, and environmental impacts. Current statistics show that over 3.4 million people in Kenya face food insecurity due to drought-related factors.

These challenges include livestock losses, crop failures, and water scarcity, pushing communities further into poverty and exacerbating existing inequalities.

Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) constitute approximately 80 percent of Kenya's land mass and are home to about 20 percent of the country’s population.

Regenerative agriculture offers a sustainable approach to combating drought and restoring degraded landscapes.

By adopting practices such as agroforestry, water conservation, and soil restoration, farmers can enhance soil health, increase water retention, and mitigate the impact of droughts.

Regenerative agriculture improves food security, sequesters carbon, combats climate change and restores ecosystems, which is beneficial for both farmers and the environment.

Forests, wetlands, and grasslands act as natural water catchments, they also prevent soil erosion and provide crucial water sources during dry spells.

Collaborative efforts between communities, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations are needed to protect and restore these ecosystems, enhance climate resilience and improve overall environmental health.

Addressing food loss and waste is another integral factor in tackling drought. Approximately one-third of the food produced globally is wasted, including valuable resources such as water and energy.

Promoting efficient farming practices, improving storage and transportation infrastructure, and raising awareness about responsible consumption would minimise food loss and waste.

This approach conserves resources and ensures that food reaches those who need it the most, particularly during drought-induced emergencies.

Inclusive approaches are also needed to effectively combat drought. Gender and social inclusion policies and programmes should actively engage marginalised communities, the youth, and persons with disabilities.

Assan Ngómbe and Jeremiah Rogito are Resilience Experts at AGRA and members of FOLU.

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