Drylands FRN II
University of Eldoret
Kapkitony Farmer Group, Korellach Parak Farmer Group, Kaporowo Farmer Group
Community of Practice:
The semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa in general, and West Pokot, Kenya in particular, exhibit problems of land degradation, high levels of poverty, and low levels of development. In West Pokot, the target community’s landscape is scarred by many deep gullies, which pose a danger to both livestock and people and stifle social interactions, as near neighbors are often completely cut off from one another. Pokot farmers are former pastoralists, transitioning to agro-pastoralism. However, their traditionally maize-based system is ill-suited to their current environment, given increasingly unfavorable rainfall patterns and worsening soil conditions.
With limited soil and water conservation, ongoing erosion continues to be the greatest challenge contributing to declining farm production. Thus, the inception phase of the Farmer Research Network (FRN) Drylands project identified improvement of ecosystem services as the entry point towards addressing the twin problems of land degradation and agricultural productivity.
The project’s inception phase focused on understanding the local context and building social capital and awareness of landscape restoration options in the community. Now, the implementation phase aims to work with farmers and groups to improve ecosystem functioning at both farm and landscape levels. Working with farmers to research suitable options for diversifying crop production with more climate-resilient crops, the project will emphasize simultaneous improvement of soil fertility and productivity along with profitable water use. Much attention will be paid to empowering the community to gain skills and agency for implementing sustainable soil-water conservation strategies, including simple physical control measures and integration of legume-cereal-livestock-agroforestry strategies. These activities align with CCRP principles of agroecological intensification (AEI), collaboration, and systems thinking.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Expected outcomes include the following:
- Improved ecosystem services with reduced incidences of severe soil erosion and improved vegetative cover
- Improved agricultural production and productivity (crops, livestock and fruits) and improved household food and nutritional security
- Improved agri-business
- Increased household income
- Improved marketing information and linkages of value-added products (e.g., crops and fruits)
- Change in behavior, practices, and attitudes regarding sustainable resource management
Measurable outputs will include the following:
- Improvement in farmers’ capacity for soil and water conservation methods and implementation of such knowledge and skills in their community
- Diversified crops and livestock forage in the West Pokot and diversified household diets
- Diversified crop and livestock products by introduction of processing technologies for value addition
- Access to market information for input and output markets
- Strengthening of community and stakeholder collaborations working towards rehabilitation of the degraded land