Food Supply & Security

Mituntu Polytechnic Utilization Report for 200 acres to be developed into a Community and Demonstration Farm

Challenges facing the Community

The Mituntu community comprises mainly of subsistence farmers relying on rain fed agriculture to sustain them. The area has no permanent rivers and practically no irrigated farmland. Very few homesteads have piped water for domestic use, and the water in the pipes is rationed and under low pressure.  Deforestation has contributed to changes in rainfall patterns which have severely affected this farming community. Recently there have been several total crop failures due to lack of adequate rainfall. This is creating severe food shortages and famine. This food shortage affects the whole community but in particular the disabled and other vulnerable groups. In 2016 the sub county nutrition officer assessed 30 disabled children in this locality and found 4 had severe malnutrition, and 11 had moderate acute malnutrition ie. 50% were assessed malnourished.

In addition the community rely on the sale of crops to fund school fees, when the harvest fails they are unable to raise the fees and children drop from school. Local head teachers report a significant number of children not progressing from standard eight to secondary school due to the issue of fees.

The role of Friends of Kianjai Kenya (FKK)

FKK was founded in 2011 to enable this community to manage a severe crop failure and subsequent famine. For three months in 2011 FKK fed approx. 1200 families and local schools until the rains came and produced a crop. Since then FKK have provided seeds on several occasions when the community had nothing to plant, and in Feb 2015 funded a large scale famine relief program in excess of 6 million ksh. Since 2012 FKK has been supporting 11 schools and two polytechnics in this area, with approx. 300 secondary students benefiting from bursaries each year. In addition FKK operates a feeding program to all 14 special units in Tigania West, providing morning porridge and lunch daily.

FKK is aware that it’s ability to continue to support this community with funds from the UK is limited, and a long term sustainable solution to the above community problems is essential.

Potential Solutions

FKK and the community are working on a variety of water harvesting/farming solutions to address these complex problems:-

  1. Across all 14 Special Units in Tigania West, and 4 in Tharaka Nithi, 75,000L water tanks and farm irrigation systems are being funded to enable to school and community to grow crops to feed the children in the Special Units and the homebound children in the locality. Total cost of the project is 8.2 million ksh to be implemented late 2017/2018.
  2. In the extremely dry location of Lairaingi a CBO has been formed to install a water harvesting system with 50,000L water pans, and irrigation kits to enable productive farming. Total cost of the project 4 million to be implemented 2017/2018.
  3. Development of 200 acres of land at Mituntu into a Demonstration and Community Farm for the benefit of the community. The balance of this report addresses this land development.

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