Graduate Transforms Turkana Desert Using Israeli Technique [PHOTOS]

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    Rachel Ngina, centre, with her village mates at a farm in Turkana County
  • Rachel Ngina, an Egerton University alumnus challenged herself to transform the lives of her village mates in a dry part of Turkana County after spending years wallowing in poverty and hunger. 

    Ngina was sponsored to undertake an internship program in Israel in 2018-2019 after she graduated in Kenya. 

    The project, Arava Internship Programme, assists Kenyan students to improve their skills and learn new information centred around agriculture. They are taken under a mentorship program by experts in the Middle Eastern country. 

    "I was so surprised to see the Israelis producing food and even exporting their excess products, yet their land is extremely dry. Actually, not even the wild shrubs survive because of the hot climate. They even import soil. 

    Rachel Ngina (in jeans) at the farm in Turkana County

    However, I got experience in the production of onions, pumpkins, garlic, dates, grapes, pomelos, mangoes and other products. If Israelis could produce food in such a harsh environment, why were our own Turkana people dying of hunger yet their climatic conditions were not that harsh?" Ngina wondered in a post shared on Egerton University's website. 

    She recalled falling ill in her first weeks but strived to adapt to her new life in Israel as she wanted the best for her countrymen. 

    Upon returning back to Kenya, Ngina said that she was determined to change the society and implement the techniques she had been equipped with in Israel. 

    The Egerton alumnus added that the only way to deal with food insecurity was not to give people ready-made food but to teach them how to produce their own food.  

    She sought for land in Turkana County and volunteered to teach the residents for six months. Ngina shared her knowledge on drip irrigation and constructing furrows, how to weed and also how to fertilise.

    "Many of my trainees had never seen anything growing. It was their first time to see seeds and to plant anything. I am proud that after six months, they have been fully equipped on how to grow their own food from a nursery establishment, how to prepare the land, transplanting, pest control, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. 

    "Today those in Lobur, Kibish, Lodwar, Maisa, Katangon, Nariakotome and their environs are healthy and happy. Their children have access to fresh fruit, vegetables and cereals," Ngina said.

    Rachel Ngina (in white) with her trainees at a farm in Turkana County
    Rachel Ngina (far left) sells produces at a market in Turkana County
    Rachel Ngina (second right) sells produces at a market in Turkana County