Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and the Israeli Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Oded Joseph, in the first week of August agreed on a partnership to boost food security and water supply programmes.
Turkana faces food security and water access challenges. In the past year- and-a-half, the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world has made matters worse for the county.
The two met on 2nd August 2021 and acknowledged the similarity of the problems their people face. Turkana, the governor said, was keen on replicating some of the successful Israeli innovations and processes.
They confirmed that they would form a technical team to explore further collaboration.
Mr Joseph said Israel had identified Turkana and nine other counties that it would work directly with.
The Israeli Government and the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) would support the development of a county water laboratory to carry out tests on water quality and suitability.
Desalination and water harvesting were approaches, he explained, the county government could adopt to address the water scarcity in Turkana.
He pledged to push for inclusion of recent graduates in agriculture in an Israeli-funded sponsorship programme for Kenyans to undergo an 11-month specialised training in Israel.
The graduates will then be required to work in Turkana, with the sole objective of increasing expertise in the field.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, virtual training will be held to build capacity for county staff and in-person training in Israel the restrictions are lifted or eased between nations.
Governor Nanok informed the ambassador that the county was keen to tap into Israeli expertise in crop production, with innovations for dryland farming, including transformational aggrotech.
Mr Nanok said research and success of model irrigation schemes had proven that Turkana has the potential for agriculture, with crops such as groundnuts, soybean, sunflower and a variety of fruits and vegetables suited for the climate and soil type.
He reiterated the county’s vision to shift from subsistence farming to commercial production, and invited Israeli investors.
He conceded that success of commercial agricultural production lay in finding a solution to water scarcity.
The massive groundwater resources, including numerous water aquifers, called for technology to make saline water suitable for domestic use to solve water challenges being experienced.