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Conservation Of Water Resources In Kenya As Prime Mover Towards Sustainable Agriculture And Food Security

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Edwin Ikitoo (Nairobi, Kenya), Edwin Ikitoo
Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP), MoALF, Kenya1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 10: Management of water resources,
AbstractKenya's total area is about 587, 900 km2 out of which, 576,076 km2 is land and 11,230 km2 is covered by water. Of the total land area, about 16% is classified as of high to medium agricultural potential; while 84% is arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs); and, classified as of low to very low agricultural potential. Average annual rainfall is 630 mm and ranges from ≤ 200 mm in the northern region to ≥ 1,800 mm on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. The country is classified as water scarce with only 647 cubic meters of renewable fresh water per capita. It's rapidly increasing population which has more than tripled from 10.9 million in 1969 to 38.6 million in 2009 and is currently over 40 million with average annual growth rate of 3%. Over 75% of the rapidly increasing population associated with increasing demand for food, energy and social amenities, is confined to the high and medium agricultural potential areas. The increased pressure on land has resulted in over-exploitation of the natural resources; hence, their degradation observed in the form of de-forestation, over-cultivation of arable land resulting in soil erosion and soil fertility decline, over-abstraction of both above ground and under ground waters and contamination of water with agricultural, industrial and domestic waste. Further, climate change has precipitated extreme weather patterns with exacerbated impact on the water observed in the form of severe droughts and heavy floods. However, the conservation and harnessing of the water resources has been used to enhance land productivity and food security through more sustainable production practices under irrigation. Large scale surface-, smallholder individual/group- and agro-industry- irrigation systems have been successfully used for rice, cotton and horticultural crops production in the country. Most vegetables consumed in urban and rural areas during dry periods are produced under irrigation; thereby, demonstrating the importance of strategic use of water in agriculture. However, growing of a considerable percentage of these seasonal crops in riparian areas and wetlands has exposed the potentially inherent negative impact of the practices on the water bodies and the environment including drying of rivers downstream and dams, destruction of wetlands and their biodiversity and receding of lakes. In this paper, the negative impact of inappropriate land use and agricultural practices on water and its effect on agricultural productivity is highlighted; and, approaches towards increased water resource conservation for sustainable productivity and enhanced food security are discussed. Anonymous (2009). Increasing Community Resilience to Drought in Makueni District: the Sakai Community’s Experience, Kenya. The Centre for Science and Technology Innovation and The Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. Arid Lands Resource Management Project African Development Fund (2007) Small-Scale Horticulture Development Project Appraisal Report. Agriculture And Agro-Industry Department, Republic of Kenya. Boelee, E (ed) (2011) ecosystems for water and food security. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme; Colombo: International Water Management Institute. Egeru A. (2012) Water Productivity in Agriculture: Challenges and opportunities for Smallholder Farmers in the Drylands of Eastern and Southern Africa. Makerere University Department Of Environmental Management. Email: egeru81@educ.mak.ac.ug eanthony@muienr.mak.ac.ug .University of Nairobi ©2012 Encyclopedia of Earth (2008) FAO (1993) The state of food and agriculture. Water Policies and Agriculture. FAO of The UN, Rome 1993. Kaijage, A.S. and Nyagah, N.M. (2009) Final draft report on socio – economic analysis and public consultation of lake Turkana communities in northern Kenya. Socio-Economic Analysis and Public Consultationof Lake Turkana Communities – Draft Report. African Development Bank Group. Kenya Land Alliance (2006). Land use in Kenya: The case for a national land use policy. Kenya Land Alliance, Nakuru. Kenya Water Report (2005) Kenya National Water Development Report: Case study Kenya. Prepared for the 2nd UN World Water Development Report ‘Water: A shared responsibility’ (2006). Water for wealth creation & healthy environment, for a working nation. World Water Assessment Programme, www.unesco.org/water/wwap . MAAFAP / SPAAA (2012) Analysis of Incentives and Disincentives for Rice in Kenya. Monitoring African Food and Agriculture Policies. FAO of The UN, Rome, 2012. Marshall, S. (2011) The Water Crisis in Kenya: Causes, Effects and Solutions. Global Majority E-Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (June 2011), pp. 31-45. Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A. Y. (2014) Water conservation through trade: the case of Kenya. Water International, 2014 Vol. 39, No. 4, 451–468, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02508060.2014.922014. Ngigi, S. N. (Unpublished). Review of Irrigation Development in Kenya. Department of Engineering, UoN, Nairobi, Kenya. Roba, A.W. (2006) Integrating environmental dimensions of poverty reduction into local development planning and governance in Kenya. Report Prepared for the Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) & EUROPEAN UNION Delegation of the European Commission in the Republic of Kenya, Head of Delegation. Sean Avery (2013) DISCUSSION BRIEF: Irrigating Kenya’s drylands – food for thought. Sean Avery, independent consultant, December 2013. Nippon Koei / JICA Study Team, 2012, ibid & National Irrigation Board presentation to REGLAP workshop, “Kenya’s Development Plan for Irrigation Development in the Arid Land and Semi-arid Lands”, 3rd December 2013. Nippon Koei / JICA Study Team USAID (2005). KENYA Water and Sanitation Profile. www.usaid.gov
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