Migori and Narok Counties

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Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori CountiesINTRODUCTION1.1.0 Migori CountyMigoriCounty is bound between latitudes 1 4' 0" South of the equator, and longitudes 34 28' 0" east of the prime meridian.It borders Homa BayCounty to the North; Kisii County to theEast; and to the West, it borders NarokCounty and the Republic of Tanzania toSouth. It touches Lake Victoria on itsWestern margins. The County is one of the sixcountiesin Nyanza Province. The County experiences two rainy seasons, and with temperatures between 21-35 degrees Celsius. The county wasdelineated in 2012 by the IndependentElectoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) of Kenya which made Migori to have seven administrativedistricts namely: Migori District, Kuria EastDistrict, and Kuria West district, Uriri District,Awendo District, Rongo District andNyatike Districts respectively. Her capital is in Migori town,about 22 kilometers from Kisii town.The county has a totalpopulation of about 917,170 persons,according to the 2009 Kenya populationcensus; occupying a total land area of2,597 square kilometers.Population density in the county is about355 persons per square kilometer. This has led Migori County to be among themost diverse and multi-ethnic regions in Kenya. Majorityof the resident population here is made upofthe Luo community, who constitutes close tohalf the total population. Almost half thepopulation however is made up of peoplefrom varied ethnic and regional origins,from all over the world. These include,theMaragoli community inhabiting parts of Migoridistricts, the Abakuria communityoccupying the entire Kuria districts. Smallpockets of the Indians, Nubians, a fewEuropeans, and the Somali (commonlyreferred to as theOriaby the locals) residein the major towns and urbancenters in theregion (Migori District Strategic Plan, 2005-2010). These are mainly business personsand technical teams. Financial services includeBanks and Micro Finance Institutions, Decentralized Funds e.g. CDF through Constituencies & LATF through Local AuthoritiesPoverty levels are almost on average since about 43% of population live below the poverty line.The main Economic Activities and industries include Agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and mining. The main Agricultural products are Maize, Millet, Sugarcane, Sorghum, Groundnuts, Cassava, Sweet Potatoes, Beans, Sukuma-Wiki, and Sweet Bananas.Its greatest mineral potential isGold. Tobacco is also grown in the area.The County faces challenges with the main ones beingLack of knowledge on diseases causes, social discrimination, and the low prices offered for the tobacco grown.1.1.1 Geology of the RegionMuch of theregions geology is made up ofthe Precambrian rocks covering most partsofthecounty.Theoldestrocks,theNyanzian and Kavirondian, all of thePrecambrian origin cover most parts of thecounty including the Migori Gold Belt(Ogola, 1993). Some Quaternary sedimentalso occurs in the region especially thosecovering parts of Karungu and Kamagamboregions.1.2.0 Narok CountyNarok County is situated in Kenya along the Great Rift Valley. It is named after, Enkare Narok, the river flowing through Narok town.Narok County is a county in the heart of Maasai-land about two and a half hours south west of Nairobi; the capital City of Kenya, nestled in the south-west of Kenya. It covers an area of 17,944 sq km and has a population of 850,920. The temperature range is 8 to 28 degrees centigrade and an average rainfall range of 500 to 1,800 mm per annum.It constitutes six sub-counties namely: Kilgoris, Narok North, Narok South, Narok East, Narok West and Emurua Dikirr.The county borders Kisii, Migori and Bomet to the west, Kajiado County to the east and Nakuru County to the north. The Peoples Republic of Tanzania is to the south of the county.Narok town is the capital Head Quarters of the Narok County and stands as the major centre of commerce in the county.Narok south constituency is the most expansive with area coverage of 10,412.1 square kilometers, while Narok North occupies 4,662.7 square kilometers. Kilgoris to the west of the county occupies 2,858.3 square kilometers.The Maasai Mara National Park which is an important tourist destination is located in Narok County. It is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration which is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World". As per theUN study/researchfor the Kenya Vision 2030, Narok County is marked as one of the fundamental counties for the achieving economic pillar. Key contributions are in the tourism sector through the Maasai Mara and the agricultural sector through agriculture and livestock farming.1.2.1 Topography of Narok CountyThe county has diverse topography ranging from the highlands of the Mau topping 3200 meters above sea level to the lowlands of the Mara at 900 meters andtemperatures range from minimum of 8 to maximum of 28 degrees centigrade and two rainy seasons with average rainfall ranging from 500 to 1,800 mm per annum.The county is mother to all kinds of terrains ranging from sloping and flat landscaped highlands in the Mau and Trans-Mara to the flat lowlands in the southern part of the county. The flat landscapes are ideal for range livestock keeping and large scale agriculture while the high and steep lands are mainly forest lands supporting cash crop farming like tea and pyrethrum.This region lies on the most recent landscape since the old landscape has been faced out by the rapid erosion and other agents of denudation. The rocks here are the youngest, about 30 million years old.2.0 Soil Types and Qualities in Migori and Narok CountiesIn Migori County soils are mainly derived fromthe ancient Precambrian rocks. There arehowever small areas made upof Tertiaryvolcanic soils in the North Western partsof the county and recent Quaternarysediments near the lake region. However,in over 80 percent of thearea, the soilsare derived from two main series ofancient rocks, the Kavirondian andNyanzian volcanics largely in the northof Migori River and the intrusive rocks, mainlygranites with some dolerites dykes, alongthe southern belts of Migori River. Theserocks are among the oldest in the worldand in the region too. All these rocks giverise to reasonably fertile soils capable ofproducing good crops which are certainlyadequate for sustaining food sufficiencyin the region.None of these soils are unusually acidicor strongly basic hence can favorextensive crop production (Ogola, 1993).A great majority of plants survive well inareas with mild acidic or basicconditions. These conditions arepresented in the region hence its potentialto support extensive agriculturalproduction. On the lighter sandy soils,much of the soil elements have been lostthrough leaching which is common in theregion due to the prevailing atmosphericconditions such as high rainfall, hightemperatures and loose soilcharacteristics. The nutrient status ofmost of the area is essentially good, buthas been reduced by shifting cultivationover the past 30 years (UNDP, 2002).A stunning feature of the area is ahighproportion of shallow or badly drainedsoil in some parts of the county especiallyin Kuria and Nyatike districts. This is dueto the presence of heavy black claysmainly in river valleys or gravel or claypans close to the surface whichdiscourages agricultural production andother economic activities in the regionsThe soils are generally unsuited to arableagriculture but provide valuable grazinglands for the semi- nomadic pastoralistsfound in some of these regions, mainly inKuria districts sincenitrogen and phosphate ions are generally low inall the soils.Expansive pasture landsare supported by light soils characterizingthe region hence capable of supportinglarge herds of cattle. This has made cattlerearing the most preferred economicactivity in the regionsaboveas opposed to crop cultivation whichforms the back bone of the countyseconomy. However, necessary reinforcement steps have been proposed by the government, presently under the mandates of the county government in the ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, to help sustainlivestock production in the region(Migori District Development Plan,2005- 2010) for effective and productiveutilization of the dry lands in the county.The soils formed on granite in the southandeast are also frequently deficient in calcium.Near Isebania they are deficient inmagnesium. Potash is generally adequatethroughout the area. The alluvial fans andadjacent volcanic soils around the GuchaDelta are generally adequate in all nutrients. From the available analyses, it should bepossible to overcome the most seriousnutrient deficiencies by the use of standardfertilizers supplemented by cattle manure. Inaddition, soybeans production in the regioncan be used as a long term plan expected toimprove the fixation of certain nutrientssuch as nitrogen and phosphates which havebeen lost through leaching. It isrecommended that a detailed soil survey ofthe best arable land be carried out by theagricultural staff during the first five year planin order to be able to come up with adequateinformation on soil characteristics forboosting economic production andfacilitating planning activities in the region.Other crops such as ground nuts, cowpeasand potatoes have shown positive results inincreasing soil fertility through the fixationof nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphatesand iron to help enrich thesoils for intenseagricultural production.The soils across Narok County are diverse ranging from the loamy soils found on the upper highlands of the county to the sandy soils in the drier areas at the low lands of the county. In some areas there has been massive erosion leading to little agricultural productivity. Such regions are left to be occupied by the nomadic pastoralists who have at times quarreled with the farmers in the areas with rich soils because of grazing lands and search for water and pasture.