Tran-forming lives of Elsa Ntirim agro pastoral Communities through Shed Net Farming


Elsa Ntirim is a village in Burat Ward Isiolo County with a estimated population of 2,500 people (500hhs). Crop farming is the mainstay of the predominantly agro-pastoral Elsa Ntirim community. However, for a long time the community has borne the brunt of food and livelihood insecurity fuelled by among other factors inadequate farming skills, use of poor technologies, recurrent droughts and inadequate water for irrigation. The dire food and livelihood situation of the community is compounded by inadequate support from the Government. In the view of the community, ‘’we are often forgotten by the Government. It does not listen to our cry for help in terms of supporting us to produce enough food’’. Introduction of shed net farming under the CAFOD Appeal Phase II Project has seen the community reaping benefits. Two (2) black shed nets with 40-45% light penetration that currently benefit 20 households (100 individuals) were installed in a farm of Alice Karimi, one of the beneficiaries. In the words of Regina Kameiyani a mother of 2 and also a beneficiary ’’ Before this project, I used to spend between 20 and 40 shillings every day to buy vegetables for my family which sometimes was not enough. Since I depend on causal labour, a significant part of my earnings went into buying the vegetables and other food stuffs. However, that is now history. In these shed-nets we have planted spinach and African Nightshade (Managu) which are rich in iron among other nutrients. We harvest (100 kgs) of spinach three times a week which we sell at Maili Saba Market. A kilo of spinach sells at Ksh. 35 and therefore we earn Ksh. 10,500 in a week. Before we take the harvest to the market, each member is given a portion for her family. We use some of our earnings to buy fertilizer and recommended inputs in line with the training we received from Caritas on crop farming’’. Kameiyani’s views are echoed by Christine Ndientenyi a mother of 5 also a beneficiary who notes that the shed net project has also contributed to fostering responsibility and harmony among the 20 households. In her words, ‘’every one of us responsible for taking care of the shed nets, planting, weeding and any other task assigned by our leaders. We are indeed grateful to Caritas Isiolo and the donor (CAFOD) for this project.