GREEN FARMS FOR THE POKOT COMMUNITY IN KENYA
The vision will develop smart farming systems that will contribute to improved food security, climate and livelihoods in Pokot -Kenya.
A local Pokot woman harvesting maize from demonstration farms in Turkwel gorge in West Pokot
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
We work and collaborate with women development center(WDC) a woman led Non profit organization which promotes sustainable farming practices for Nomadic communities in Kenya.and the kenya agricaltural and development institute
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
West Pokot County ,a semi-arid region ,which is located in Rift-Valley in Kenya,has a total land area of 34710 square kilometers
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Born to the Pokot tribe, I grew up in the Turkwel valley, gorge where I lived with my parents and others in the community leading a peaceful semi nomadic. The Pokot community since time immemorial had led a peaceful seminomadic life raising their cattle and practicing subsistence agriculture in harmony with the surrounding wildlife .In 1970,the Kenya government sealed off part of the Turkwell valley gorge to create Tarkwel –lorokon National park and forcefully evicted the Pokot people residing within the park boundaries causing them to become “conservation refugee “the forceful eviction ,had not only disrupted the balance of the ecosystem, but also physically displaced the indigenous people whose existence and livelihoods had played a key role in protecting the wild life and environment .The Pokot people had sustainably lived off the land for generations in coexistence with native wild life ,moving their cattle according to seasons, taking care not to overgraze the land and share resources with the gazelles, impalas and other animals that keep the ecosystem in balance.
Today the Pokot people are one of the poorest communities in Kenya, with high rates food insecurity and malnutrition, a high percentage of its 500,000 inhabitants (82 percentage) live in absolute poverty, child stunting and lack of access to food in prevalent, with some estimates suggesting that about 10 children aged less than five years die each week from malnutrition related diseases.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
The Pokot people live in West Pokot County and some parts of Baringo County in Rift-valley Kenya. They speak “Pokot” language of Southern Nilotic language family which is very close to “Nandi” Turgen and other members of the Kalenjin grouping. Based on a real and cultural difference, the Pokot people are divided into two groups (Rottland 1982) the hill Pokot and the plain Pokot .The hill Pokot live in the
rainy highlands in the West and in the central South of Pokot area, they are both farmers and pastoralists. The plain Pokot live in the dry and infertile plains, herding cows, goats and sheep and they live off the products of their stock. The Pokot people claim that they have originated from Southern Ethiopia and migrated southwards into Kenya as early as 2,000 years ago, expanding their territory rapidly into lowlands of Kenya Rift-valley, mainly at the expense of the Laikipia Maasai people. The main food of the pokot people is mainly meat, which is consumed by men or “Moran”, raw milk is consumed by families immediately after milking while it is fresh and traditionally processed sour milk which is mixed with animal blood is consumed during the dry spell when there is low milk production. The life expectancy of the Pokot people is as low as 30years making the Pokot Community an endangered species.
The homestead is the center for the Pokot family; here a man lives with his wives, each having their own hut. All members of the family lives here and their stock are corralled here at night. The man of the family rules the homestead telling the others what duties they are to perform. The position of a woman in Pokot community is very weak. Women have no voice in public forums and no authority within her homestead. Most families interviewed recently by our team lead prior to developing this program, had wished to have a sustainable and nutritious food security for their families. The consumption of raw milk and sometimes sour milk given to young children have resulted in serious health problems .The Pokot people are literally dying from hunger. The plan now is to develop a community driven climate smart farming system that will help to meet the rising demand for food, attain the social development goal of ending poverty, hunger and combating climate change and its impacts.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Pokot once a beautiful savannah County rich in history and a sustainable agriculture and culture, today Pokot families lack basic necessities, they struggle daily to make ends meet. Rising poverty among the population is directly linked to long period of droughts, climate change and to some extent economic stagnation and relocation efforts .Any potential for transformation agricultural growth has been hindered by inappropriate agricultural and livestock policies, lack of infrastructure, along with severe deforestation, soil erosion and habitual loss.
Today ,in the year 2050 the population of the Pokot people had doubled to 1 million, feeding the 1 million people will come with some cost, the environmental consequences are felt has the families have cut down the forest to pave the way for more farmlands. Modern agricultural practices which relies heavily on external farming inputs like chemicals fertilizer and pesticides have polluted the land and water sources and decrease bio diversity .The mechanized production system has led to soil degradation
through tilling and the use of external inputs ,which lead to erosion ,damage to soil structure and killing off of beneficiary microbes. Though there are some improvements being made to help reduce the impact, such as the growth in precision agriculture, which make use of remote sensing and GPS to more efficiently use of inputs and reduce prolusion yet the environmental costs are taking toll on the Pokot community, land degradation and climate change are threatening gains in net agricultural and livestock production. While already some of the increased production in the year 2050, the production proceeds must go to covering the losses from the environmental changes; it is now becoming a vicious cycle where production leads to environmental costs that cut into production so production is further increased along with the environmental costs and so on until the system risk collapsing.
Families now considered as “middle class “have access to a much wider variety of foods than in the decades past. The cold chain infrastructure increase the diversity of available produce like meat and dairy products ,people start to consume more processed foods consequently ,obesity and related no-communicable diseases(NCDs)like diabetes and heart diseases are on the rise .The Pokot families that were known for high rates of malnutrition 50 years ago are now showing high rates of these NCDs.
The Pokot people had by now lost their cultural heritage, because of changing lifestyles which has been brought by agricultural transformation, meaning they will not pass down their tradition and customs that once defined them to their generation, in addition, agricultural development policies like climate smart agriculture and adaptation plans to improve food security were far less successful due to lack of investment and will on part of the community leaders and farmers.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
The vision will address the current(2020)food challenge by implementing a well-researched food system approach that will operate across many sectors and which will reach upon all aspects of the target community through smart agriculture ,nutrition ,environment and health ,to achieve this smart vision, we will start by mobilizing the community and start a process called community “triggering process to empower the community to adapt to new farming technologies, environmental conservation and behavior change on the effects of malnutrition stunting in children, while at the same time creating a deep emotional response that will motivate the people to change their eating habits.The program will work and engage tradition structures within villages such as village gatekeepers, traditional heads and local stakeholders to play a role in behavior change in food security and nutrition. The program will show people how to grow nutritious foods for themselves in smear farms throughout the year, and also establishing kitchen gardens, in the process we will also discuss gender balance, how spouses each prefer to use their garden plots and what they can do to provide nutritious food for the entire family, working very closely with small-holder farmer (crops and livestock) to increase local supply of nutritional crops and milk throughout the year. Demonstration gardens will be established ,to enable community to learn on best agronomic practices ,the gardens –referred to as “climate smart “uses less water ,promotes experimental learning where farmers will learn by doing and provide platform to promote crop diversification for home consumption and export .Agricultural extension workers including NGOs will be engaged to support the establishment of “climate smart gardens “they will also aid in the established of processing/preservation technique to ensure availability during lean season. In particular locally available seed varieties such as cowpeas, African leafy vegetable, spirulina production and amaranth us will be established and promoted. We will organize and form nutritious and food champions at each village whose main tasks is to promote food development and to suggest and enforce community by –laws in agriculture .The program will also deliver tailored weekly/monthly SMS in local dialect to promote the program a farmer feedback mechanism where the user or farmer will sent a short SMS with the farming problem or support needed, and within minutes the user will receive a call /text message with the accurate agro information. We will establish Village level improved (traditional )processing and fortification SMEs which will process stable foods and to enhance micronutrients and bioavailability, at the same time, new knowledge in food sciences will be exploited to strengthen the competitiveness of local village food SMSs production of healthier(complementary)food for African child women and men.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
The agricultural transformation over the last 20 years has contributed to an overall structural transformation in Pokot families. The shift from subsistence to smart agriculture is mirrored by the overall shift from producing primary products to manufacturing and service industries,Pokot people are now seeing far more economic innovation and diversification. Few people are required to produce food because of improved in agriculture mechanization, their labor is now employed in alternative agro-industries while at the same time the manufacturing and information technology sectors are showing strong growth. The transition has come with growth in infrastructure from roads and electrification across all villages, which has resulted in additional benefits to the local economy and quality of life. The operation had also provided additional now employment opportunities that did not exist before.
The Pokot families are now living in modern houses complete with solar water heating and lighting systems, cutting of trees and collection of firewood by women is now a thing of the past ,households have changed from the use of wood fuel to clean biogas fuel for cooking meals, health facilities have been constructed and equipped with modern medical equipment and drugs ,primary health care is excellent and is provided to the people free of charge ,life expectancy has now improved from the 30 years during the last two decades to 65 now. Because of the community reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by households switching to clean energy, thus becoming part of local solution to take climate change, the community had attracted carbon credits, through this grant trees are planted, and environmental stewardship protected and culture safeguarded for future generations.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Today, in the year 2050, there are over 3 million tribal Pokot people, with net population growth over the past quarter century, families are now highly civilized, people are now seeing the most development in recent decades. There are also very fewer people living in poverty, with the increased food accessibility that comes with less poverty. Agricultural production has been able to keep pace with increasing demand by growing at a steady rate of around 2%per year. The modernization of smart agriculture has expanded and become more efficient .Smart farming system continue to supplement traditional and conventional agriculture of the last decades. The smart farming production system is based on increased production
through capital inputs, such as mechanization irrigation and high yield seed varieties. The amount of agricultural land has expanded to small extend through land-use conversion, farm robots are now available and are performing almost all intensive farm work such as monitoring crop health in the farm by targeting for example treatment only to plants that need it. Adaptable farm robots performs precision farming activities (which a farm laborer perform)an adaptable farm tractor, harvester ,irrigator and multicomputer unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV) with a multipurpose agricultural unmanned ground vehicle system that is able to survey a “smart farm “from the air and perform target intervention on the smart farm, at the same time provide detail information to the computer at the control unit for decision support: the robot performs all this task with minimal human intervention .The system is able to adapt to a wide range of crops grown in the farm ,it utilizes different sensors and group treatment packages for plants . Agricultural production is increasing enough to meet the growth in food demand and prices are very low now enabling people in towns to have food. Another change is the reduction in over consumption of plenty of available food, earlier in the last decade, people were consuming an average 50%more calories than were needed to maintain a healthy life, because of unhealthy diet and lifestyle of consuming too much calories, community stake holder and policy makers learned about the nutrition transition and to avoid the trap of obesity because of this shortcoming, food eating campaigns are conducted county-wide using print and electronic avenues with strong messages on social safety nets and consumer behavior change.
The convectional agricultural practices of the past three decades were degrading the environment, they over exploited natural resources ,while polluting the land ,water sources and air ,resulting in massive food shortages ,climate change and environmental degradation were nearing a tipping point, so in the process of this phenomenon ,the community stakeholders-including experts in agriculture water and environmental created a system that could endure ,while also regenerating the environment, given the challenges the community faced in the last 3 decades, the community now had shifted to circular economy where everything is recycled ,waste is used as an input for product cycle is such a way that it becomes self –supporting .Farmer now work with nature rather than against it, they practiced agro ecology, farms now are smaller in size so that farmers can effectively understand and manage .
Ecology has allowed farmers to incorporate the principals of climate smart agriculture which has further promoted their resilience to environmental risk and reduce the frequency and intensity of shocks, agro-ecology has required skilled labor input per unit of land, which has provided new job opportunities .This in turn has slowed and reversed economic migration from rural areas to cities or abroad. Community development has also improved with growth in infrastructure ,social services and secondary business .The agricultural success of the Pokot people had attracted the attention of the Kenya government to fully open up this area, excellent roads network and airport has been constructed ,social halls have been constructed at every village where community leaders meet to share and to prioritize development issues of the community .Students from universities and colleges from other counties are coming to Pokot to learn and to complete their academic requirements, while hunger and poverty is just a recent memory .Because of prosperity in agriculture, the community has established a social fund to support those in need such as the elderly ,widows and orphans through a monthly cash transfer program
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