In Kiriki Village, Nyimei Parish, Kwanyiny sub-county in Kween district, farmers are to start irrigating their crops as a way of fighting against drought that has affected the area over the past years.
The farmers, led by Joel Cherop, one of the biggest farmers in the area, say over the years, people have made losses because of drought yet there is a big river in the area that if only used can increase food production.
According to Cherop, he has already mobilised farmers who live near the river and they are all willing to work as a group for the betterment of their area.
Christine Chemutai, one of the farmers who has been heavily hit by drought for the past two seasons says he was almost giving up on farming.
Chemutai says she planted four acres from which she invested sh1.6m and harvested produce from which she got less than sh400,000 only.
“All the maize was hit by drought so it all dried up when at four weeks. Am lucky that some maize survived and that is how I got the six bags (100kg) of maize. This has happened for three consecutive seasons. So, I had lost hope,” she says.
She, however, was happy that the idea of starting irrigation is to be introduced and she is ready to be part of it. She said even if it is to contribute some fees, she is ready to do it.
Cirrus Taake, another farmer who planted three acres of maize but made a loss, says he is ready to join other farmers to start irrigating his land, noting that the river is just near his land but never knew its importance.
According to Cherop, with the vast Greek River that flows through many people’s lands, the community will benefit from irrigation and grow throughout the year.
He revealed that irrigation has worked for him in Kapchorwa so if introduced in Kween, it can also be a big boost to the farmers who are on the verge of hunger due to drought.
“Our soils are fertile but people are only embroiled in depending on seasonal rains and nothing else. If irrigation is introduced, it will help them grow food even when the rains are not enough,” Cherop says.
He said he is going to buy a simple solar-powered irrigation system that will be pumping water from the river to the gardens. The community will be using it for a small fee.
Cherop also reveals that they are also going to start a drive to restore the river banks such that it is not affected.
He revealed that because of encroachment on the river, it has now started causing flooding and also eating up people’s gardens.
“It is the only river in that area and it never dries up. So the earlier we fight to conserve it, the better,” Cherop says.