KENYA – The World Bank has issued over ksh. 40 million (US$ 396, 738) financing to Laikipia County, North-West of Kenya to facilitate the Climate Smart Agriculture programme aimed at empowering rural farmers on climate change mitigation.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi says farmers ought to embrace new technologies if they are to improve yields and practice sustainable agriculture.

He called on the farmers to improve their rainwater harvesting systems to compliment what the Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project is doing in building larger dams for fruit farmers.

He noted that countries such as Israel are producing enough food for their country and surplus for export despite a large part of the country being a desert.

The project aims at reducing greenhouse emission by helping farmers diversify to fruit farming, rearing dairy goats and cattle.

The Climate Smart Agriculture program was developed through a tripartite cooperation to address Climate Change by the three Regional Economic Communities, COMESA, EAC and SADC.

The project aims to support adoption of Climate-Smart conservation Agriculture, supporting investments in national Climate-Smart Agriculture programs and addressing the linkages between Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use, and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.

In Kenya the program was launched in 2017 after drought was declared a national disaster affecting 23 counties in the country.

The Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy was jointly developed  by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF), the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR) and other government ministries and departments.

It was undertaken with support from the World Bank through the Kenya Adaptation to Climate Change in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (KACCAL) project, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In other related news, the national government of Kenya is seeking Ksh.7.5 billion (US$74.3m) to put additional 700 thousand acres under irrigation in the medium term.

Irrigation Secretary Aboud Moeva says part of the budget will be raised by farmers through a public private partnership to ensure the plan is realized in time and becomes sustainable.

The Irrigation Act 2019 is backed as an enabler towards attainment of food security, a priority under the government’s big four agenda.

To this end the State Department for Irrigation says it targets to mobilize more than KSh. 7 billion (US$69.4m) to finance rehabilitation of dams, construction of water pans and water harvesting across the country.

The government has earmarked lower Nzoia, Mwea, Bura and Perkerra for rehabilitation and expansion in a bid to put an additional 89,000 acres under irrigation in large schemes.

This as community-based smallholder projects acreage is expected to be increased from the current 256,000 acres to 390,000 acres.

At households’ level the government plans to construct 125,000 water pans. Moeva says part of the funding will have to come from farmers as the government intends to adopts public private partnerships in food production.

The new act is expected to further reduce mismanagement issues that have been bedevilling the irrigation schemes across the country lowering the schemes productivity.

Experts say irrigation is key in mitigating climate change effects that has seen the country become a net food importer.