The El Nino blessing for Yatta

November 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – Colourless, odourless, tasteless, and calorie free, water is vital to all life on earth. No human, animal, or plant can live without it.

From elephant to microbe, water is essential; and there is no substitute.

Each of the more than five billion people on earth needs to consume, in liquids and food, about two and a half litres of water every day to keep healthy. Indeed, the saying, ‘No water, no life’ stresses the importance of water to each organism on earth.

It is in this regard that many people let out a sigh of relief at the onset of the rains albeit forecasts from weather experts that it may result in heavy flooding.

For many in people in Yatta plateau, the rain was like manna from heaven as it signifies an end to the long spell of drought that has been prevalent in the region. A resident of the area Josephine Ndunge says that this will result in a lot of produce which will reduce the hunger that has beset many people.

 “We are going to till land so as to plant maize and beans so that we can get money to help us in our livelihood,” she stated.

“There are also other crops that we can plant so as to ensure that we have enough stock,” she added. Fred Mutua who is a father of 10 children says that the lack of rain in the area has resulted in them looking for alternative means to survive.

He says that many a time, he has had to work on the farms of other wealthy farmers so as to provide for his progeny.

“The life here is not good. It only becomes bearable during the rainy season. At a time like now, everything is completely dry and we cannot get any food,” he explains.

“The only way that we can get food is by working on farms of the well-to-do people.”

Mutua says that the onset of the rains will bring many blessings to his family which will result in an improved livelihood. His sentiments are echoed by the Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet who says that the rains will be a relief to Yatta residents.

Gullet points out that the living standards of the residents will further be improved due to increased food yield.

“If that then happens they will be able to depend on themselves and they would not be on food aid anymore,” he says adding that this will enable communities to be resilient and depend on themselves.

The Kenya Red Cross Secretary General called for increased assistance to farmers to help them get to their feet.

“We believe that the right thing to do is to give them seeds which I are in fact cheaper than the food aid that is being given today,” he stated.

“So it’s about addressing the needs of the communities and making them take responsibility of their own land and be in charge of their own destiny.”

Yatta Member of Parliament Charles Kilonzo encourages farmers to concentrate their efforts in planting small parcels of land.

He says that doing this is beneficial since modern technology can be utilised optimally and various irrigation methods can be utilised.

“What we have done is to discourage farmers planting big parcels of land and getting nothing but encourage them to concentrate on one acre and do intensive farming,” The Yatta MP said.

“They should try as much as possible to harvest water for that one acre.”
Kilonzo further advices farmers not to sell all their produce but to leave some seeds for the next season.

“We have told farmers that it is most crucial that they do not sell the seeds and that when they harvest they should not sell the food,” he says.

“The reason for this is that when they sell the food they sell it at throw away price and come famine, they are forced to be given relief food,” he adds. Indeed, without water, it is impossible to grow crops or to raise livestock. No water, no food; no food, no life. 

Next to air, it is most necessary for sustaining man’s life. Without food, man can live for more than a month. Without water, or water-containing food or drinks, he will die in about a week.

That is why we have to find ways of conserving water especially during this rainy season so that we are not caught up in the quagmire of dry seasons which result in drought.


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