Taita Taveta Farmers Boost Food Security with Innovative Farm Ponds

Kenya has faced prolonged droughts in recent years, affecting the livelihoods of millions of pastoralists and crop farmers. The community in Kishushe, Taita Taveta County, is among those severely impacted. The extended dry periods have led to significant losses in farm crops and livestock, which constitute the primary source of income for the locals.

Without an irrigation system, smallholder women farmers like Gladness Wachia, who relied entirely on rain-fed farming, experienced devastating losses. With consecutive failed rainy seasons from 2020 to November 2023, Wachia’s harvests were negligible, if any.

“For three years leading up to November 2023 (six rainy seasons), we did not receive any rainfall in Kishushe, which severely affected our food security,” said Wachia.

Gladness Wachia proudly stands next to her newly constructed farm pond in 2023 in Kishushe, Taita Taveta County.

In response, ActionAid International Kenya, through the Women’s Rights Programme III (WRPIII) and under the climate justice objective to build the resilience of small-scale farmers, distributed dam liners to 41 farmers. Wachia received several dam liners, which she used to construct a farm pond on her land for harvesting rainwater for irrigation during dry periods.


The farm ponds are designed for rainwater harvesting, providing significant benefits for farmers, such as micro-irrigation and livestock watering. This artificial water reservoir helped Wachia overcome water scarcity, allowing her to cultivate her farm year-round and increase crop diversity.

“After I installed the farm pond, everything changed. I could water my crops, which allowed me to expand the variety of crops I grew and increase my harvests. My family now has enough food, improving our nutrition, and I can trade the surplus produce,” added Wachia.

The other 40 farmers also utilized their dam liners effectively, enjoying good harvests following the November-December 2023 and April-May 2024 rains. The increased yields have significantly improved household food security within the Kishushe Local Rights Programme (LRP). These smallholder farmers are also trading their surplus harvests, thereby increasing their income streams.

Amidst the adverse effects of climate change, this innovative technology provides a solution that ensures water availability for small-scale farmers, especially women. Farm ponds are becoming increasingly popular, vital for managing water resources, and promoting agricultural sustainability.

Author: Pauline Atieno, Local Rights Programme Coordinator – Taita Taveta. 

Editorial Team: Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya, Mary Consolata Makokha, Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya 

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