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Thika East To Benefit From The Construction Of Water Pans For Harvesting Runoff Rainwater.

Kiambu County Government has mooted the idea of installing rainwater harvesting systems that could be a life-changing solution within the dry areas of the county that are plagued by water shortages.

In partnership with the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Project Promotion for Local and Up-Scaling (SHEP PLUS), a government of Kenya/Japan International Co-operation Agency, the county government will train residents of Ngoliba Ward in Thika East Sub-County on how to harvest and utilise rain water efficiently by constructing water pans.

This region is among the many that grapple with an acute water shortage with supply only during the rainy seasons. Farming is not throughout the year as irrigation potential has not yet been exploited fully, leaving the farmers depending on rain fed agriculture. About 80% of the crops here are grown during long rains while the remaining 20% grown during short rains. However, short rains are not reliable though farmers persistently plant crops in every season.

It is for this reason that the devolved government has invested on plans to excavate a water pan in that region, ensure food security by promoting innovative, commercially oriented crop and livestock farming through creating an enabling environment, providing support services and ensuring sustainable natural resources management.

The training is aimed at increasing food production through enhancing small scale farming in Kenya considering that the development of agriculture is important for poverty reduction since most of the area residents depend on subsistence farming as their main source of livelihoods. The growth in this sector is therefore expected to have a greater impact on a larger section of the population than any other sector.

“By diverting water from road run-off, residents will be able to harvest and utilise rain water efficiently through the use of water pans water that they can use for farming and drinking once filtered,” said Dr. Monica Waiganjo, CEC Agriculture after commissioning the first water pan in the area.

The C.E.C. stated that the county government was committed to increasing food security for its people. The pan, of about 2000 cubic metres in volume, is expected to hold over 300,000 Litres of water, enough water to grow tomatoes and spinach in a quarter an acre piece of land.

Residents of Kiambu County are expected to visit the facility to get a demonstration of how to utilise scarce rain water as a mitigation against food scarcity in the county bearing in mind that Kiambu is Nairobi city's food basket.

The water pan that was presented to members of Ngoliba Volunteer group is expected to help the group grow and harvest tomatoes and spinach worth over Sh. 500,000. Ms Waiganjo added that more water pans will be constructed in other dry area of the county to enhance food security and improve the economic status of small peasant farmers.

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