Wajir County is located in an arid area prone to drought, in the North Eastern part of Kenya. It lies within the Sahelian climatic region, which is characterised by long dry spells and short rainy seasons, with annual average rainfall between 250 to 300mm. About 60% of the population is pastoral, while 23% is agro pastoral. The Baseline economic household survey (2013) – developed during the inception period – indicated that the average monthly household expenditure in Wajir is Kshs 4416 (approx. US$50). This makes Wajir number 5 among the top poorest counties in Kenya, according to the Commission for Revenue Allocation Report CRA (2013).
During periods of drought, lack of fodder is often a major cause of livestock mortality. During the 2009 drought, many households lost up to 65%of their herd, directly resulting in increased levels of poverty and food insecurity. We believe that through sustainable fodder production and marketing, communities can benefit from less volatile/fluctuating incomes and reduced livestock mortality during drought, as they will have access to affordable hay. Since 2013 The Project has been working with the Mungano Makaror farmers group on fodder production.
Mungano Makaror farming group’ in Wajir East was established in 2004 and has ten members (six women and four men). It is part of the county farmer’s association, and is situated about 15 km outside Wajir town.
The group engages in fodder production, but also produces different types of fruits including pawpaw, bananas and citrus, and they keep small ruminants.
Sustainability and the way forward
Fodder production is an excellent solution to increase drought resilience and improve socio-economic conditions. The Mungano Makaror farmers group started producing fodder themselves after the 2009 drought, when they saw the benefits of fodder production. With the assistance of SNV, ILRI and KLMC they have been able to significantly increase their production. They are eager to continue with fodder activities (even without external assistance) as they see the business opportunities of being able to sell hay to pastoralists during drought periods.
SNV, ILRI and KLMC will continue providing support to local fodder groups in Wajir and other ASAL counties, with the aim of making them viable micro-enterprises that will continue their business after the project has ended. The project will furthermore look at the possibility of using solar energy for irrigation, as well as assisting the County Government/NDMA to mainstream the process of buying fodder from the farmers for strategic reserves.
By documenting and sharing experiences and livelihood impacts of the market and fodder interventions the project aims to serve both pastoralist communities as well as local government authorities in maintaining and scaling up these models. The Project is currently using the Mungano Makaror Farmers group as an example for other groups from within and outside Wajir County – among others through exchange and learning visits.
“The project has helped us attain knowledge on fodder production because now we know which seeds to plant and how, and we also have a baling box to use for packing the fodder for sale. Now we are able to produce much more than we could before the project, and we are willing to continue with the initiative”
Guhad Faral, Chairman of the Muungano Makaror Farmers Group