Food Security Projects in Tana River
Recurring drought and floods have had a significant impact on communities in Tana River district in the last ten years, thus negatively impacting on households (HH) and reducing their capacity for recovery. These hazards exacerbate high levels of poverty in the area, which in turn results in crises of greater magnitude that impoverish a greater number of people. Close to 77 per cent of the District’s population lives below the poverty line with more than half of those unable to meet their basic food needs and have a chronic reliance on relief food or handouts (KRCS Tana River Food Security Livelihood baseline-May 2009). The traditional agro-pastoral and pastoral livelihoods are under threat. The communities struggle to cope with changes in the climate, population, and local environment and inadequate and depleting natural resources in Kenya. There is much change in these communities yet the level and pace of adaptation is not adequate thereby increasing the rate of poverty.
It was in the above context that Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) came up with the Tana River Drought Recovery Project. This was a nine month project that commenced in April 2010 and was completed on 31st December 2010.The project was funded by the Government of Japan and implemented in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) The project’s main objective was to assist recovery from the 2007-09 drought and promote livelihood options that could help targeted communities adapt to future droughts through the provision of agricultural inputs such as irrigation equipment, seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, livestock, modern beehives, conducting restocking and installation of water and sanitation facilities. Most importantly the project was set to train the targeted beneficiaries on agricultural best practices, operation and maintenance of the how to use the water and irrigation equipment provided and on hygiene promotion, thereby building capacity of not only the beneficiaries but the surrounding community as well.
An investment of USD 700.000 allowed the KRCS to replenish household assets lost to drought, increased the pace of recovery by subsidising agricultural inputs and perhaps most importantly promoted new food and income production activities which will better help communities manage climate change and future drought. The support has led to the transformation of pastoralists to farming and most importantly Madogo is now an area that is not targeted for Relief food.
The interventions set in the project have assisted the targeted beneficiaries to cope with future changes and has resulted to:
• Increased food production and income levels at the household level. A total of 33 farmer groups consisting of 1,750 farmers (10,500 beneficiaries) were supported through seed provision, land preparation, farming inputs and irrigation pumps. There was an increased percentage of those practising crop farming from 7.1% to 39%.
• Improved access to water and sanitation facilities for 10,000 beneficiaries through construction of 10 shallow wells and rehabilitation 5 shallow wells, distribution of 300 sanitation platform for latrine construction and 1,500 household water filters.
• Improved knowledge on agricultural best practises, water management and operations and maintenance.
Tana River Maternal Child Health Project 2011(Phase 2)
Kenya Red Cross with continuous funding from the Japanese Government (400,000 USD) has offered continued support to the communities in Madogo, Tana North District. The support adopts an integrated approach supporting modern agricultural practises and health activities. The project has targeted to serve 20,000 beneficiaries through;
• Construction and equipping of a maternity wing in Mulanjo.
• Installation of 4 greenhouses in schools to support feeding programmes and also forms part of income generating activity.
• Conduct Monthly mobile clinics (12) in hard to reach areas.
• Distributed 5,000 mosquito nets for expectant mothers and under five children.
• Conducted house to house campaign on immunisation and malaria.
• Trained 300 farmers on agricultural best practises.
The Tana Drought Recovery Support 2011/2012 With the devastating drought that occurred in 2011, further support was given to additional farming groups as part of drought recovery by Funding from Finnish Red Cross (€250,000 )and a Swiss foundation(Bank Lombard Odier,Foundation 1796) (CHF 324,157) to support 8,400 beneficiaries (1,400 farmers) through;
• Distribution of 24 irrigation pumps to farming groups • Supply of seeds and seedlings and agro chemicals • Distribution of inputs such as donkey carts, wheelbarrows, jembes, pruning saws, shovels.
• Provision of tractor services for land cultivation (800 acres prepared ).
• Agricultural training for 300 farmers on best practises (crop production, marketing etc ).
• Supporting farmers through exchange visits to other farms.
• Installation of 5 greenhouses in model farms.
• Drilling and equipping of borehole to supply water to Mulanjo Maternity wing.
All these are geared towards building community resilience to the adverse effects of the drought and to enhance food security.
Proposed intervention in 2012 With immense success of farmers adopting irrigated agriculture and increasing food production thus shifting from subsistence farming, there is a need to develop a market. KRCS in collaboration with the county council of Madogo are in the process of setting up a market centre, where the community has allocated a 10-acre land. In enhancing sustainability of the interventions, KRCS is working with the district cooperative officer in establishing a savings cooperative for marketing and savings amongst the farmers.