EU project to boost Turkana refugees

irrigation scheme
Women work at an irrigation scheme. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Thousands of refugees and host communities in Turkana County are set to benefit from an agriculture programme that is expected to improve food nutrition and incomes at the household level.

The programme, a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the European Union and the County Government of Turkana will see 400 hectares put under crop.

So far sorghum is to be planted on 187 hectares.

The land will be used to grow cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits and pasture with the community expected to rake in Sh70 million in the next 12-18 months.The project, dubbed Kalobeyei Integrated Social and Economic Development Programme, is meant to develop the local economy and service delivery over 14 year.

The project will be integrated in the County Integrated Development Plan. “The overall objective of the project is to create an evidence-based, innovative and sustainable development and protection solution for refugees and host communities in Kalobeyei through the establishment of an integrated settlement area,” said FAO.

The project aims at improving health standards of the population, support host communities and ensure food security for beneficiaries. The venture is expected to benefit 39,000 individuals including 26,500 members of the Turkana community in the three sub-counties of Turkana West, Turkana East and Loima; while 12,500 of the beneficiaries will be from refugee settlements. Turkana is an arid county with average annual rainfall of 250mm hence water is scarce and not used for irrigation.

However, the project is set to overcome this challenge.

The Turkana community mainly practises pastoralism as its economic mainstay.