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Farming in Pastoralist Communities: “The fence is a game-changer”

Human Wildlife Conflict, Disney project

Top: Grace Korosian, a resident of Arjiju Village in North laikipia says they have adopted farming in their community.  Below: A tractor ploughs a section of the 44-hectare land protected by the new solar-powered fence implemented by Laikipia Wildlife Forum

 

“My name is Grace Korosian, I was born and raised here in Arjiju Village, Makurian Group Ranch.

A few years ago, we were just pastoralists keeping only livestock, like most Maasai Communities.  But we were introduced to crop farming by agricultural extension officers who visited our village. In our first harvest, we felt the joy of harvesting our own produce without buying as we would always do. We had been enlightened!

Back then, women like myself grew “sukuma wiki” on sacks behind our Manyattas and we would water them. This was the alternative source of food. But then, our farming practices attracted unwarranted visitors to our doorsteps. We had “someone else” harvesting our sukuma wiki – the Elephants!

Thinking about it now, it was expected. I mean, we live at the periphery of Mukogodo forest, with a big population of elephants.

ILMAMUSI CFA

The solar-powered fence in Arjiju is part of Disney Project Implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum

Having experienced this conflict, the community decided to dedicate one area of our village just for crop farming.  For a few seasons, we’ve been able to harvest from it, but it has also been a field day for the elephants. It’s a hassle  for us, chasing them away with fire, and sometimes having to harvest beans early so that we can salvage something for our families.

Early this year, when this idea of a solar-powered electric fence was discussed by our committee in Makurian, we were very excited. This was a new idea here and we knew what it would change things in the village.

And now seeing the fence complete around both the communal farm and the clinic, it is a source of hope for us. I mean, our villagers have been smiling since the poles were first delivered here, and seeing it shaping up into a fence is unbelievable.

I’m sure you have seen a tractor plough the land here today. The next time you visit, we will have grown some maize, some beans, potatoes and grass for our cattle.

We now know that farming is important. Those families that have been assigned a plot, can now comfortably grow something. Those without will at least have a place closer to home to buy food from.

We are hopeful that we are likely to harvest something sizeable from this farm.”

#ENDS

The newly constructed solar-powered fence in Arjiju Village covers 45 hectares and is part of the Disney Project implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum at the larger Mukogodo landscape.

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