By. Dr. Simon Nguluu, Senior Lecturer, School of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences.
Water harvesting strategies for maize production in ASALs of Kenya.
Drylands cover over 30-40% of the Worlds Surface and over 80% of Kenya’s surface. Population wise, 36 % live in ASALs with 12% in Arid and 24 % in Semi-Arid. Out of the entire population, 10 million people suffer from chronic food insecurity and poor nutrition. 46 % live below the poverty line (GOK 2010) and 50% of livestock in ASALs.
For any technology to succeed to be useful it should address, the high evaporative demand, soil storage, moisture loss and fertility. All these technologies have contributed to reduce soil erosion, land degradation and improve water infiltration (Getnet and Macalister, 2012) but have failed to address the high radiant energy and moisture loss. Therefore these technologies must be combined with effective mulching technologies to reinforce moisture storage & availability in ASALs.
It is important to note that even with the advancement of technology, the yields are still low in ASALs and this is highly attributed to low adoption of appropriate technologies.