A new program by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is helping more than 5,000 Kenyan farmers build resilience to bad weather, and enabling them to withstand drought and prevent food crises in the future.
The move is consistent with calls from the humanitarian community for stronger donor support to programs that build local resilience and capacity so that disaster-prone countries can avoid similar crises from occurring in the future.
The project — which has nearly $3.6 million in support from Sweden — is helping the farmers terrace at least one acre of their fields to conserve rain water for crop use and prevent soil from being washed away.
Farmers, with FAO’s help, are also constructing simple sand dams in nearby riverbeds to capture and retain water for crop and household use. This will slash the hours they usually spend collecting water.
In return for their labor, farmers receive vouchers they can exchange for basic household items or food.
Farmers in eastern Kenya depend on rain to grow cereal crops. But they have not had decent harvests for the past cropping seasons because of patchy rainfall for the past consecutive years.
FAO’s project also educates farmers about nutrition and avoiding HIV infection, as well as gives them entrepreneurial skills in poultry raising and vegetable growing.
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