raising-cropsAgricultural development efforts in Kenya have largely be concentrated on the 20% of the land which is fertile and has good rainfall. As a consequence, the people who live on the good land have prospered, while the people who live on the poor land have suffered from low crop yields, droughts and poverty. However, that might be about to change with a new policy for the development of arid lands.

One of the factors influencing the new policy is Kenya’s continuing population growth and the need to provide food security for a greater number of citizens. Another is the recent discovery of oil in the arid Turkana region of Kenya, meaning that funds from oil revenues will be available for development in the region, and the presence of economic activity associated with oil extraction will also drive development in the area.

Israel has managed to turn desert land into productive orchards, vineyards and vegetable gardens, and Kenya is hoping to achieve similar results, through efficient irrigation, recycling of wastewater, and various other horticultural techniques. Major railway and road projects are planned to bring affordable transport to northern Kenya, and these should provide a significant boost to the economic viability of agriculture in the region.

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