Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blogging from Kilimo

Field visit to DASS/ASPS Projects in Coast Province

My field visit to the coast province was organized by Agricultural Sector Program Support (ASPS).
This trip was to take us 1 week and see us go to Voi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Kaloleni and Malindi Districts to inspect Decentralized Agricultural Support Structures (DASS) Projects which is a component of Agricultural Sector Program Support (ASPS).

Agricultural Sector Program Support (ASPS) has been a 5 year long term Danish support to the Agricultural Sector in Kenya which began in 2005 and coming to and end this year. It has been housed in Kilimo house under the planning department.
Its objective has been the objective of SRA i.e. Strategy of Revitalizing Agriculture which is; ‘to contribute attainment of economic recovery by transforming Kenya’s Agriculture into a profitable, commercially oriented competitive and productive economic activity that provides gainful employment to Kenyans’
Simply put: to promote farming as a business i.e. ‘Kilimo biashara’

The DASS component of ASPS has seen it being involved in;
• Improvement of Rural Access Roads & Spot-Improvement
• Improvement of Irrigation Infrastructure
• Improvement of Market Infrastructure

Journey Blog
Tuesday 27/04/2010 (Day 1)
We left Kilimo house at 1130hrs for Mombasa through Makueni (Wote). In Makueni 1400hrs where we delivered complete computer set for use in the District Agricultural Office (DAO) in Makueni. Later we passed by Kathozweni district at 1520hrs where we also delivered them a computer set.
We then set forth to Mombasa and at 1900 hrs we were in Mombasa but it took us one hour and a half to reach Mtwapa (Clearly jams are not ONLY in Nairobi!). This is where we spent the night.

Wednesday 28/04/2010 (Day 2: Kwale District)
0730hrs: Briefed on the days activities by project leader as we partake breakfast.
0830hrs Left for Kwale district. His is the part we had to take the ferry. Yes the ferry. And by the look of things if those Germans don’t bring the ferries we ordered like Yesterday then…………..
Arrived in Kwale at 1030hrs and met the DAO who gave us a brief on the projects in his district and the district preparedness for the transition. Later we went to the field to check out the projects. This is what is called ‘Kukagua Miradi’

• Rural Irrigation Project (Sand Dam)
This project we visited falls in the new Msambeni District which used to be in Kwale BUT for the purpose of our visit the Project was done in Kwale District (because funding was channeled through Kwale).
DASS funded the construction of a sand dam and facilitated the training of the locals on how to effectively use the land. The locals have formed a group of 25 people and are currently lead by a chairlady, Mama Issa.
• D547 Gandini-Ngome Road
DASS facilitated the opening up of some of the areas in Kwale district by funding the construction of a road. The roads funded by DASS are NOT tarmac roads but murram roads that are the first step in opening up an area.
 This road facilitates the taking of produce to the market.
 Middlemen are also able to come to this interior to collect produce.

Thursday 29/04/2010 (Day 3: Kilifi & Kaloleni Districts)
0730hrs: Briefed on the days activities by project leader.
0800hrs: Left for Kilifi district.
On the way passed the beautiful Rea Vipingo Sisal Plantations and within an hour we were in the magnificent Kilifi District head quarters. Despite the heat I managed to hold up as for now I was accustomed to the coast heat. The secret to combating the heat is taking hot beverages i.e. ‘dawa ya moto ni moto’.
0930hrs: Briefed on the districts project by the DAO.
1100hrs: Leave to inspect Matsangoni-Wireless Road
Excellent murram road which goes leads all the way to the ocean.
At the far end of the road I got first hand account on how the road had improved the well being of the people there especially fish mongers who are now able to take fresh fish delivery to the market. Mind you I got to see how the locals go about fishing for star fish. They wait when the ocean subsides and move into the ponds left harvesting them.
1330hrs: Lunch in Kilifi complements of the DAO.
1430hrs: Leave Kilifi for Kaloleni
1530hrs: Arrive Kaloleni
Kaloleni is far interior if you are coming from Mombasa-Malindi Road.
Kaloleni is a new district and the road leading there has not been tarmaced. However, the contractor is on the ground tarmacing the road.
Since this district was curved out last year most of its projects were coordinated from Kilifi.

Friday 30/04/2010 (Day 3: Malindi District)
0730hrs: Woke in Malindi (Spent the night there).
0800hrs: Briefed on days activities.
0900hrs: Arrived at DAO hqs where we were briefed on the projects that are done in this district.
1100hrs: Went to see Kaloleni Irrigation Scheme
An excellent scheme that has uplifted the area by providing steady incomes from sale of pepper and currently they are harvesting the first season of Tissue cultured bananas. The bananas are in such excellent condition that I almost thought I was in Kisii!
1400hrs: Lunch in Malindi and left for Mombasa.
Saturday 1/05/2010 (Day 4: Mombasa)
Weekend of compiling reports in the morning and in the afternoon I went to watch the coral reef and swam on the waves!

Sunday 2/05/2010 (Day 5: Mombasa)
0650hrs: Trip back to Nairobi.
NB: Passed by Voi on our way back.

To get more info on ASPS check:

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