Distraught locals at a vandalized borehole at Katikit village in Tiaty, Baringo County on March 17, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

I learn someplace that analysis in caves offers proof that extended drought introduced down India’s Mughal empire. It is documented that the lengthy extreme droughts skilled by the Indian sub-continent led to the decline of the Mughal empire and India’s textile industries within the 1780s and 1790s because it induced widespread crop failures and excessive ranges of famine.

Drought and famine devastate entire communities and robs us of dignity as we have now witnessed in Kenya. This is why I’ve determined to stick with the drought state of affairs in 23 of the 47counties of Kenya.

Relief and help are good in coping with results of drought however constructing and sustaining resilience for future is greatest. The drought is brought on by failed 4 consecutive rains seasons and the forecast for rains isn’t optimistic.

Therefore, every particular person, who is in a position to, ought to take measures and make efforts to construct resilience in opposition to drought to mitigate and shield ourselves in opposition to drought.

When I used to be a woman, we lived on the sting of the forest, surrounded by pure bushes and a river that by no means dried. My mother and father carried out subsistence farming however in addition they planted cotton, greens and my maternal grandfather grew plenty of tobacco and vegetable oil vegetation known as “mbaiki” whereas my different grandfather stored plenty of conventional cows.

Rains got here when anticipated and in cheap portions and we had agricultural extension officers who visited to practice and supply providers to small farmers; in addition they taught us strategies of water harvesting, how to dig furrows and to shield soil erosion. They have been authorities individuals! They additionally got here to inject and deal with livestock and so they didn’t even keep for tea or ask for cost!

There have been bushes and meals in all places; besides in early 1980s when drought and famine hit us due to failed rains. Nevertheless, we continued to get rains predictably. However, the native council subdivided the forest and bought it to people, who minimize down the forests.

We began noticing modifications with the river close by drying out utterly and crops starting to fail. People deserted cotton, tobacco, mbaiki farming and their livestock to give attention to subsistence farming (maize, beans, pigeon peas, millet and so forth.), which additionally grew to become tough due to failed or unpredictable rains.

Men illegally herding cattle as elephants stroll by at Mugie Ranch on February three, 2017. [Suleiman Mbatiah, Standard]

Now, we rely totally on borehole water for farming or on meals we purchase from the markets, making it tough for wananchi to survive. Since we had meals and water, we have been wholesome and clear and we required cash for lower than we do right now.

Nevertheless, these households which have bananas, sugar cane, mangoes, oranges and different fruit bushes proceed to reap advantages from them. We want extra of those in all places.

We could not reclaim all of the previous glory however we are able to construct resilience, put together and shield ourselves in opposition to drought and its results. There are some ways of doing this and a few require authorities intervention like educating all of us about climate-smart agriculture, harvesting rain or harvesting water from the air, the place there isn’t any rain.

We may educate ourselves to preserve moisture by masking our soils with leaves, bushes, natural matter like manure to regenerate and construct wholesome soil, planting perennial and native meals, creating cool micro-climates like rising fences, bushes and vegetation additionally act as windbreakers, recycling waste, utilizing drip irrigation the place attainable.

However, the largest resolution to drought is to broaden our forest cowl, plant plenty of bushes particularly indigenous and meals bushes and practise climate-smart agriculture by rising acceptable seeds for dry areas and planting sufficient meals crops to guarantee meals safety and good diet.

Farmer working in hazelnut orchard. [iStockphoto]

These name for concerted efforts and deliberate actions, funding and collaboration between nationwide and county governments to assist small and huge-scale farmers, livestock and beekeepers and different types of actions that produce meals, construct resilience in opposition to drought and shield the environment.

It is essential to develop schooling programmes in all types of farming particularly dryland farming and climate-smart farming. With the advantages of web and social media, extension officers could solely be mandatory in few instances.

Also, the Ministry of Agriculture might want to give attention to making the examine of agriculture extra engaging, revolutionary and glamorous to entice extra agricultural college students and actual practitioners. This is the one approach to guarantee meals safety and good diet for Kenya whereas constructing drought and local weather resilience.

– Join the dialog @Koki_Muli @StandardKenya.