The county government of Elgeyo Marakwet has carried out public sensitization to stop illegal farming activities along the kerio escarpments.
County executives in charge of Water, Environment and natural resources Ambraham Barsosio and his Agriculture counterpart Shadrack Yatich while touring Kocholwo in Soy South Ward on Tuesday engaged the local community on modalities to observe the directive.
Areas mapped out as most affected include Kocholwo, Tambach, Sambirir and Embolot- Embobut across the escarpments and the hanging valleys.
“We are sending a team of land surveyors who will erect beacons that will guide you on where the cutline is. We cannot accept this kind of illegal farming activities in the escarpments,”Yatich told the baraza in Kocholwo community resource centre.
The unregulated activities have in the recent past resulted to killer landslides that claimed lives and property, said Mr. Barsosio while warning the residents of Katumoi, Setano, Kabechei and kocholwo to observe the directive instead of courting problems.
Sections of roads and bridges have been affected as a result of the illegal farming activities in the water catchments which are
completely unsuitable for cultivation, he noted.
Should the practice continue unabated, they warned, the county government in liason with government security agencies might use force to implement the order.
Any further plunder of the water catchments for maize farming in the next farming season will attract punitive measures, warned Mr.Yatich adding that local Agricultural officers in whose areas of jurisdiction continue plundering the escarpments will face disciplinary action.
He advised the farmers on the alternative agricultural practices listing coffee, avocado, mangoes, bananas, macadamia and groundnuts among others as the most suitable for Kocholwo, Setano,Katumoi, Teber and Kabechei locations unlike maize farming.
He however praised the local farmers in the area for embracing coffee farming saying it was one of the notable areas across the county where farmers were already reaping impressive returns from the crop.
Last year alone, farmers from the region earned Sh.19 million from sale of coffee, said Mr. Yatich. The area also planted a big percentage of the 63,000 seedlings for Coffee, macadamia and avocado procured by the county this year, added the CEC.
The county government has allocated Sh2 million for soil conservation and promotion of coffee and mango cash crops in Soy South Ward.
According to area Member of County Assembly MCA Jonah Tanui the money had been allocated towards establishment of terraces and promotion of the cash crops.
Religious leaders Reverend Jackson Kosgey and Samuel Teimuge together with national government representatives led by Keiyo South Assistant County commissioner ACC 1, Ms. Stela Gakii attended the meeting.