Uganda floods blessing to Turkana village

Tuesday September 06 2016

A farmer on top of a checkpoint overlooking the Nasinyono irrigation project in Turkana County. PHOTO | PETER WARUTUMO |


When dark clouds gather uphill in Kotido District in northern Uganda, residents of 10 villages in the plains of Turkana West Sub-County on the Kenyan side know it is time to leave their homes for higher ground.

Fast-moving flash floods are known to sweep away everything on their path, submerging homes.

But residents of the nearby Nasinyono Village are reaping from the floods.

For four years, they have been harvesting the flood waters for irrigation.

When visiting the village, located in one of the dry regions in the country, one is embraced by a blanket of green crops covering 500 acres.


a sorghum farm at the Nasinyono irrigation project in Turkana County. PHOTO | PETER WARUTUMO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Margaret Loyaman, one of the farmers who have benefited from the project, said she started planting on half an acre.

She said she subdivided the land to grow sorghum, vegetables and watermelon for domestic consumption.

Last year, Ms Loyaman expanded the acreage under farming to an acre and sells the surplus from the harvest in Kakuma town, where the demand for fresh vegetables in the arid town is very high.

She uses the proceeds to pay fees for her children and buys stock for her village kiosk.

“My target is to expand to three acres by next year,” she said.

Ms Lomayan is one of the beneficiaries of a project that harvests flood water for irrigation, initiated by Johanniter International.

The organisation launched the Sh90 million project to construct trapezoidal bunds.

These are water-harvesting structures used for crop production in the arid and semi-arid lands.

Johannitter International Country Director Gladys Mwende said they initially began with relief food distribution but later turned to a sustainable food programme for residents.

The six-year project has not only addressed flood problems but also ensured food security for residents.

Ms Mwende said they intend to expand the project from the current 500 acres to 800 acres, saying at least 2,000 households in the area would benefit.

The organisation said they want to ensure sustainability of the project before expanding to other villages.