Women’s life in Ilchamus village, in the Baringo county, is not easy. The area is rather dry and water is not simple to find.
Water is not only used in residential buildings but also for agriculture, the most important activity for the major part of the inhabitants to survive.
The main water supply comes from Molo river, but it is a seasonal river and so during the dry season the people have to go to Baringo lake, which is very distant. In these months, for example, there were less rains than usual in the area and so, without water, some of the cultivations withered.
Esther Tenges lives alone with her children. She remained a widow since her husband was killed in one of the cattle raids that frequently happen in southern areas of Baringo county. Her main economic activity is livestock, but slowly she is moving to agriculture because of the risk of conflicts connected to this activity that already took her husband away from her.
Without the necessary economic resources to make investments, Esther has never been able to dedicate herself to agriculture completely and in order to maintain her family she is forced to have an additional job at the village.
Mani Tese has involved Esther in the project “Agri-change: small businesses big opportunities, development of agro-food production chains in Molo river’s basin”, co-financed by Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and now her life has improved a lot. As a matter of fact, she received 125 plants and dedicates herself to cultivation with other women from the village. In particular, the plants are 15 acacia trees, 100 banana treesand 10 mango trees.
However, due to the area’s soil aridity, it is not easy to guarantee a good irrigation for the cultivations. So, Esther uses plastic bottles to water plants through drip irrigation and collects water in a storage tank which she built following the project personnel’s indications.
Sometimes, when it rains and Molo river is swollen, Esther pumps water in the tanks and then uses it to water plants. The tank can contain until 10.000 liters of water and represents a very useful resource in drought periods.
Esther is among the first people involved in project Agri-change and banana trees already began to blossom. Thanks to the training she received and the knowledge she learned, Esther does not fear to take care of the plants anymore and now hopes that soon she will collect the first fruits. Through the harvest’s sell she wishes to obtain the assets she needs to expand her orchard and to diversify and increase production.
The main problem remains the dependence, in order to sell, on intermediaries that decide prices for agricultural products and take advantage of farmers’ work. For this reason, Esther wishes to participate to a training course about product marketing to become completely independent.