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Successful transition

Kenya: Samburu farmer traded in cows for cabbages

In Kenya’s Samburu Central subcounty, 50-year-old resident Mathew Lesiyampe decided to give up on pastoralism to grow vegetables. Now he is thriving from growing cabbages, kale, garlic, tomatoes and capsicum, on just three acres.

Lesiyampe’s story is testament to the fact that even arid Samburu can be food secure if its residents embark on serious irrigated agriculture.Lesiyampe started farming in May of last year, this being his second season. In the May-December season he made more than Sh5 million (40,000 euros), but he had to pay off a loan of Sh2.8 million (22,400euros).

The-star.co.ke reported how Lesiyampe said he used to own more than 100 head of cattle, plus goats and sheep. Now, he has 15 acres, three dedicated to horticulture. When he started, he had his savings, but still a lack of money was the biggest challenge. His fields needed a constant flow of water for irrigation. “I had to dig a borehole. The cost was Sh2.5 million, which I didn’t have.”

So Lesiyampe entered into an agreement with a water drilling company, and agreed to repay the cost in two instalments. The borehole is solar-powered. He bought 15 solar panels. “I now have plenty of fresh water to achieve my farming dream.” But he uses water carefully through drip irrigation and doesn’t waste any.

Publication date: 2/14/2018


 


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