The drylands of West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo suffer degradation due to soil erosion. The erosion is as a result of biophysical as well as socio-economic factors. While there have been a number of efforts at rehabilitation, these have been driven mostly by government/NGOs/researchers. These efforts have borne some fruit which in most areas seen to be short-lived. This initiative seeks to engage and interest farmers and communities living in these areas to come together and restore their landscapes. This will involve assisting farmers through capacity building to enable them form networks where their indigenous knowledge can be integrated with scientific information to provide sustained solutions to landscape degradation. It is envisaged that strong farmer research networks is key to not only restoring landscapes, but also bring in an aspect improved livelihoods, giving rise to multiplying the effect(s) across other landscapes.To put the rehabilitation vision into perspective, the project has started to pilot the testing of Farmer Research Network (FRN) in West Pokot county in Chepareria ward involving two farmer group, (Korelach Parak and Kapkitony) living in one water catchment. The interest here is to see the small holder farmers managing soil erosion in their farms through the use of appropriate soil and water conservation structures that will lead to improvement in sustainable crop and animal production in the area. Thus, if every farmer can utilize conservation skills that will help to reduce the amount of water flowing downhill, then the creation of deep gullies and decline in agricultural productivity will be addressed. This will ensure that surface water will infiltrate to recharge underground water which with time will reduce the distance traveled in search of water for domestic use.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Priority catchment identified and conservation structures put in place (Enclosures, sand dams, Shallow wells among others)Number of Farmers groups identified, sensitized and networked (FRN)Rehabilitation vision and supporting workplans (fully owned and farmer driven) developedImproved land productivity (reduced soil erosion, healing of gullies, vegetative cover, crops, livestock among others) in line with CCRP’s AEI principlesFarmers interests driving research processFarmers acknowledging land degradation as a solvable problem and are proactive in management of soil and water resources