The Kenyan government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are jointly funding a $51 million USD program to boost climate resilience in the country’s arid and semi-arid counties, senior officials said on March 11th.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Felix Koskei told reporters that the money will be channeled toward climate-smart agriculture and pastoralism in 23 counties that experience chronic hunger.
“The state will assist communities in dry regions in mitigating the effects of extreme weather through development of irrigation schemes and rangelands management to improve agro-pastoralism,” Koskei said.
“Contracts have already been awarded to develop water storage infrastructure, including dams and [water] pans,” he said. “We have prioritized natural resources management to help pastoralists deal with harsh climate.”
The Kenyan government has mobilized resources to strengthen the response to drought in the six worst-hit counties. Koskei said an irrigation system and four water pans will be developed in each one.
“We have finalized hydrological surveys to facilitate drilling of four boreholes in every county,” he said, and “contractors have been awarded tenders to install water harvesting infrastructure.”
He said 15,000 households would benefit directly from the latest drought intervention measures.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Sicily Kariuki said construction of new irrigation systems and shallow wells is under way in hunger-prone counties.
“We have adopted a holistic approach to address climatic shocks that fuel hunger and conflicts in the northern rangelands,” Kariuki said.