Pastoral system rejuvenated
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CTA. 1991. Pastoral system rejuvenated. Spore 31. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45438
Turkana pastoralists have found that water harvesting has taken the risk out of growing sorghum. Indeed, in many years they can get two crops a year and food supplies are much more secure than they have been in the past. After the severe drought of...
Turkana pastoralists have found that water harvesting has taken the risk out of growing sorghum. Indeed, in many years they can get two crops a year and food supplies are much more secure than they have been in the past. After the severe drought of 1980 Oxfam and the Intermediate Technology Development Group began a project to improve food security m the area. Water harvesting techniques were introduced that were based on those developed thousands of years ago in the Sinai Desert. Areas of land subject to flooding or flash floods had metre high earth bunds built around them to trap the water. After the water had soaked in, a fast maturing variety of sorghum developed by the Turkana was planted and the wafer 'barked' in the soil was sufficient to carry the crop through to harvest. In some years it has been possible to get two crops of sorghum as the short rains very often provide enough water to plant again. The pastoralists have never been able to do this before. Another feature of the project has been the way traditional councils have participated in the project and taken over responsibility, this has improved their standing with local institutions and with the Government. The pastoral system is now considered to be the only viable use of the land in this dry area. Neighbouring districts are now using the same techniques to take the risk out of cropping. ITDG Myson House, Railway Terrace Rugby CV21 3HT, UK