The project by ADRA Kenya is being implemented in lower Yatta Sub-county, Kitui County. Kitui County is located in the former Eastern Province in Kenya. The highest areas in the county are Kitui Central, Mutitu Hills and Yatta plateau. Due to their altitudes, they receive more rainfall than other areas in the county and are the most productive areas. To the eastern side of the county, the main relief feature is the Yatta plateau, which stretches from the north to the south of the county and lies between rivers Athi and Tiva. The plateau is characterized with plain wide shallow spaced valleys.
The climatic condition varies across the county in terms of rainfall and temperature. The rainfall pattern is bi-modal with long rains falling in the months of March to May. These are usually very erratic and unreliable rainfall. The short rains which form the second rainy season fall between October and December and is abit reliable. The county experiences high temperatures throughout the year, which ranges from 140c to 340c.
First quarter planting was done in the months of April 2016 and harvesting done in July , production was very poor due to low rainfall that were experienced across the region ,the DTC registered over 80 % crop failure leading to inadequate food supply and income to households under project support. This situation has exposed the population in lower Yatta to extreme vulnerability not only to failing livelihoods but related coping mechanisms.
In the output of procurement of 10,192 grafted mango seedlings farmers received ten seedlings each. Comparatively, mango seedlings have been doing considerably well. The success rate for the mango crop was approximately 70%. This is partly attributed to, bottle irrigation which was done during dry spell, manageable number of seedlings that were given to each farmers, farmers enthusiasm , skills learnt during trainings and favourable climatic condition for mango crop and more importantly ability of mango tree crop to withstand climate-related effects of extreme weather.
During monitoring exercises the above observations have been evident, views from farmers in regards to the prevailing situation have also been inclined towards scaling -up mango production and give more support to mango production which is more climatically adaptable and will improve the area ecosystem unlike green grams crop which have been a traditional crop and vulnerable to dry spells.
Farmers have been requesting for more seedlings motivated by the observed seedlings success rate and after realizing the economic benefits from the sensitization that were done through ministry of Agriculture and case studies from neighbouring Machakos and Makueni counties that are the countries hub for quality mango export in Kenya and the value chain that contribute 40% income of the total livelihood in the two counties. These areas greatly share the same climatic conditions with lower yatta. Therefore, it’s evident that mango fruit production in Lower yatta will critically enhance the efforts towards achieving the overall project goals of enhancing adaptive capacity.