Isiolo governor blames lack of extension services for poor farm yields

Isiolo Governor Godana Doyo has attributed food insecurity in many parts of northern Kenya to inadequate agricultural extension services. Mr Doyo said there is lack of proper research and poor farming methods used by farmers, which in turn lead to lower yields. “Farmers have failed to diversify their livelihood through venturing into drought resistant crops as a copping mechanism for the drought in the region,” Mr Doyo said.Isiolo governor

He was speaking on Monday after chairing a cabinet meeting where he directed the departments of agriculture and water to come up with plans to mitigate the effects of droughts in the area. The governor said research institutions should also advise farmers in drought-prone areas on how to use better farming methods in order to improve on food security.

WITHSTAND DROUGHT

The Isiolo county boss advised the pastoral communities to diversify to planting crops that could withstand drought. The crops, he said, include sorghum, green grams and cassava. Mr Doyo regretted that the communities had lost several herds of cattle to drought in the past due to failure to adhere to early warning systems issued by the government.

The county government is also planning to come up with measures that will see the communities venture into large-scale farming in Merti and Garba-Tulla sub-counties this financial year. Mr Doyo further said the deployment of agricultural extension officers and more tractors at ward levels would encourage herders to venture into farming in order to reduce their dependency on relief food.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Marsabit holds free medical camp

Residents of Marsabit received specialised healthcare over the weekend during a free medical camp at Marsabit hospital. The camp, which was organised by the county government in collaboration with doctors, attracted large numbers of locals. It involved various medical specialists including physicians, surgeons, gynaecologists and paediatricians, among others. Speaking during the exercise, Governor Ukur Yattani praised the doctors for their work and asked them to visit other areas in the county to offer the same services. marsabit free medical camp

“My county government appreciates your giving back to society and we promise to consider your flight transport if you agree to visit Moyale, Kalacha and Laisamis to provide them with the same service,” he said. Mr Yattani added that the health sector was at the “heart” of his administration as they allocated 30 per cent of the county budget to the sector. The governor asserted that the health sector in the county had greatly improved, attributing it to the responsive county leadership.

“The county is in the process of building an ultra-modern health facility at a cost of about Sh150 million,” he announced, adding that the facility would ease efficiency in the provision of health services. Marsabit deputy director of medical services Manasseh Ndakalu said the team, comprised of 17 specialists, attended to the locals for two days. “The team includes eight general medical officers, three general surgeons, two gynaecologists, two paediatricians and one Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon,” said Dr Ndakalu.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Traders: Tender plan will drive us out of business

kraBusiness people are not ready for procurement changes introduced recently by the national government. The more than 200 traders yesterday expressed fears that they could lose out to business people in other counties on tenders and contracts. The new system requires automation of all procurement processes. Their fears were expressed during an e-procurement workshop intended to equip them with basic knowledge on the system.

The National Treasury has been sensitising and training traders across the county in e-procurement. The forum was held at Catholic Hall. Led by Marsabit Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jack Elisha, the business people said they were ready to embrace the new technology but must be trained adequately. Mr Elisha said the national government should allow public participation and repeat the training in Marsabit.

“The training only took an hour. To make matters worse, some of our members were not involved. I appeal to the National Treasury to consider repeating the sensitisation and involve everybody,” Mr Elisha told journalists. Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) department officer Charles Kichwele pleaded with the business people to accept changes.

He said doing away with the old system would limit underhand deals that had become a norm as far as procurement was concerned. Mr Abdulahi Suleiman, a Moyale businessman said most of the traders were not computer literate and poor Internet network in Marsabit would greatly interfere with e-procurement. He added that the technicalities involved in the new system called for a comprehensive mastery of computer skills and fast Internet services. He cited iTax, introduced by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

“Most of us are not techno-savvy. I wonder how we will do business with this technology when we’re already struggling to access the services of (the) Kenya Revenue Authority iTax system, where taxpayers file their returns electronically,” Mr Suleiman said. Marsabit Chief Financial Officer Shallu Ibrahim asked the business people to get Ifmis registration numbers at the county treasury.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

North Rift governors lead plans to form regional bloc

northrift economic blocGovernors from the North Rift have stepped up plans to form what they have termed as the most vibrant economic bloc in the country. Speaking on Friday night in Eldoret Town, governors Simon Kachapin (West-Pokot), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and several representatives from the eight counties said they will involve all leaders to come up with a comprehensive document that will bind the economic bloc.

The economic bloc brings together Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Baringo, Turkana, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Samburu counties. “First, we are coming up with a framework and later we will talk with the various county assemblies to come up with legal framework touching on licenses and taxes so that residents in the counties will benefit from the bloc,” said Mr Mandago, the interim chairman of the proposed bloc.

He added that there were mega projects which one county could not single-handedly implement and that is why they were coming together. Mr Kachapin said that infrastructural developments like the Kitale-South Sudan highway to be built by the government in the next financial year will open up the region to investment and solve the perennial conflicts pitting the warring communities in the region.

During the press conference, Governor Mandago disclosed that that Samburu County had formally joined the regional block since it shared similar demographic features and issues with the other counties. The county boss said that they will jointly be involved in muilti-billion projects such construction of a water reservoir that will benefit the three counties.

Mr Mandago said that they will work round the clock to re-brand the region as the new tourism and investment destination in the country and beyond.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

ABOUT PDNK

Pastoralist Development Network - of Kenya

We are an advocacy NGO established under a Trust deed number 791 DI 4453128 in 2003. The network is a conglomeration of 60 pastoralists’ individuals, NGOs and CBOs and non-pastoralist institutions and individuals supporting pastoralists’ development process in Kenya. It draws its membership from North Rift, South Rift, North Eastern and Upper Eastern regions of Kenya representing 14 pastoralist Counties. Its mission is to lobby for the inclusion of the pastoralist agenda in mainstream development with the vision of a prosperous pastoralist society.

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