Farmers living along the escarpments in Elgeyo Marakwet County have been urged to practice soil conservation in order to combat soil erosion.
Speaking during a public baraza in Soy North in Kerio valley, Governor Alex Tolgos said the rains that continue pounding the area have regrettably resulted into death of one person in Rimoi, destruction of roads and soil erosions in farms.
The meeting was held to sensitize farmers on ways of combating soil erosion in the wake of the ongoing rains that have left behind trail of destruction.
According to the Governor, his government was liaising with the office of the county commissioner with a view to addressing any emergencies caused by the rains across the county.
He said: “We are urging the residents living in landslide prone areas to move to safer grounds to avert any possible loss of lives. At the same time, we have also provided to the general public an emergency helpline to report any incident to telephone no. 0704 220 220,”
The County boss challenged local farmers to desist from carrying out illegal farming practices along the precarious escarpments.
“If there is any kind of support that I will require from the national government, is to help me apprehend people carrying out illegal farming in the dangerous escarpments. The people doing illegal farming are not aware of the consequences they are courting,” said Tolgos.
During the baraza, the Governor led a delegation of County officials to demonstration farms where two farmers _ Mr. Samuel Teimuge and Edward Wafula have embraced use of grass known as Vetiver to manage soil erosion.
“The use of vetiver has indeed proved to effectively combat the erosions that are synonymous with the escarpments. These two farmers should be emulated by everyone in this region,” said Tolgos.
Vetiver is a tall perennial grass (Vetiveria zizanioides) of southeastern Asia cultivated in warm regions especially for its fragrant roots which are used especially in woven goods (such as mats) and in perfumes.
“We appeal to the residents along the escarpments to emulate the two famers and heed the directives of department of Agriculture in carrying out better agricultural practices to manage erosions,” said Tolgos at Teimuge’s farm in Kapsoo.
The Governor was accompanied by Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich and Agriculture Executive Shadrack Yatich among others.
Mr. Rotich however said the region has huge agricultural potential because of favourable climatic conditions for Agriculture but soil erosion was a threat.
Governor Tolgos also launched Kabob water project in Emsea which is undertaken alongside Miti moja water project in Cheptebo at a cumulative cost of Sh.5.7 million.