Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has rolled out a program to reclaim the county’s degraded land.
Under the Sustainable Land Management program, Waiguru commissioned a satellite soil scanning exercise that was able to identify land degradation hotspots in the county which informed the resolve to reclaim them.
The first phase of the robust program involves preventing and mitigating land degradation as well as restoring degraded soils in selected villages in Kariti and Kiini wards in Ndia Constituency.
Terming land as the most important capital investment in agriculture, Waiguru underscored the critical role that sustainable land management plays in enabling optimization of agricultural production and productivity in the county.
The department of agriculture is implementing various interventions in Ngu-Nyumu, Kamolo, Kianjege villages in Kariti ward and Kiamuguongo in Kiini Ward.
These areas are mainly very steep and whenever there is heavy downfall, tons of soil is swept by raging waters since there have not been any barriers.
As an intervention measure, an area covering 461 hectares of degraded land is benefiting from excavation of 7,050 meters of retention ditches and 21,150 meters of terraces on farms in the selected areas.
The County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Agriculture, Dr. John Gachara noted that the ditches and terraces will prevent soil erosion and optimize soil harvesting adding that apart from the terraces, area farmers will be supported in planting high value trees such as avocado, macadamia and coffee.
The department of agriculture has propagated 150,000 avocado, 50,000 macadamia and 300,000 coffee seedlings at the Kamweti Farmers Training Center, for distribution to farmers under the sustainable land management project among others.
Besides land reclamation, people in the affected localities have benefitted from providing paid labor for the project that started last month. Gachara noted that the project is being led by project implementation committee whose membership is drawn from the benefiting community.
In Kianjege village, residents are very grateful as they start realizing the benefits of the land reclamation project. With the ongoing rains, the terraces and ditches are already harvesting the run-off water thus arresting the previously vicious run-off.
Millicent Wanjiru, a resident of Kianjege hailed Governor Waiguru for the project terming it as a timely intervention that will protect their crop and structures during the ongoing heavy rains.
“Whenever it rained heavily in this area, we used to witness destruction by run-off water, sometimes destroying structures and crops, but we are happy that the terraces are now arresting high pressure of water flowing downhill.
Her sentiments were echoed by Belton Nderi, a resident of Ngu-Nyumu who noted that terraces and ditches are very effective soil erosion prevention methods terming the project as the long-awaited solution to a problem that they have grappled with from time immemorial.