The Dryland Eco-Region Research Programme (DERP) Centre is looking for ways of enhancing livelihoods of those living in dry lands of Kenya.
With the country’s approximated 47,588,092 people, the move will increase productivity and spread of the population.
Making the remarks, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) Kitui Regional Research Centre Director, Dr. Albert Luvanda, said that 29 out of 47 counties in the country are arid and semi-arid.
He added that the arid and semi-arid lands have 25 per cent of the country’s population.
They engage in activities like livestock keeping.
He was speaking during the DERP Research Advisory Committee’s annual meeting held recently.
The event was conducted virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luvanda said that the country’s arid and semi-arid lands support more than 14 million people who are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
He said the drylands are endowed with minerals and rich diversity of the flora and fauna that the local people continue to depend upon over generations.
“The drylands account for some 84 per cent of the Kenya’s total land area,” Luvanda said.
He said DERP covers Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Garissa, Samburu and Marsabit Counties.
The eco-region partially covers Kajiado, Taita Taveta, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Tana River Counties.
He said DERP conducts research and development activities to help farmers improve on on-farm tree cover, conserve the environment and improve their livelihoods.
DERP carries out the dryland research in Africa.
“DERP scientists identify research problems in the field.
They will present their progress report for 2020-21 projects as well as the 2021-22 proposals),” he said.
The official said that stakeholders have the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed projects.
This will help KEFRI management to evaluate each project logically.
Luvanda said that the eco-region ensures the supply of high quality tree seeds and/or seedlings.
This will ensure improved environment, sustainable management and conservation of water catchments and biodiversity, tree improvement and on-farm forest plantation establishment to achieve 10 per cent tree cover in the country.
“Above all, we need a clean and healthy environment,” he added.