Bungoma County is one of the smallest counties in Kenya that is located in the Western Part of the country near the border of Kenya and Uganda. Bungoma County borders other Trans Nzoia, Kakamega and Busia Counties. The total area covered by the county is approximately 3,032.2 square kilometres.
According to census that was carried out in 2009, the population in Bungoma County is approximately 1,375,063 people with about 298,696 people living in the urban areas. The rest of the population is found in the rural areas where most of the agricultural activities take place.
Bungoma County is made up of 6 constituencies namely;
- Kimili Constituency
- Sirisia Constituency
- Bumula Constituency
- Kanduyi Constituency
- Mt. Elgon Constituency
- Webuye Constituency
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
Altitude in this region ranges between 1300m to 1500 metres above the sea level.The area experiences two rainy seasons in a year with an average of 1200mm to 1800mm. This provides enough water for various agricultural activities practised in the region.
According to Kenya Meteorological Centre Database, the temperatures in the area range between 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. In January which is the hottest month the temperature rises up to 30 while in the coldest month the temperature is usually 15 degrees Celsius on average.
Parts of Bungoma County are located on the slopes of Mt. Elgon and this contributes to weather patterns in the county. The county also enjoys well drained soils that are rich in all the major nutrients required by the crops. The soils are able to support crops such as maize, barley, wheat and finger millet.
This is one of the sectors that contribute to the economy of Bungoma County. Some of the crops that are grown in the county are maize which is usually grown on large scale. The produce is consumed locally and the surplus is transported to other towns and cities around such as Kisumu and Nairobi. Other cash crops that are grown in parts of county are Coffee, Tea, Pyrethrum, Cotton and Sugarcane. Part of the produce is exported and the rest is consumed locally. The average length of the growing season is more than 270 days and this enables the farmers to practise multiple cropping which in turn increases variety and yields harvested from the farms. Other crops that can be grown in the area include potatoes and cassava which can be used to supplement other sources of food especially during the dry seasons.
Research shows that the poverty level in Bungoma County is estimated to be 53% while the age dependency ratio is approximated to be 93.8. Some of the activities that promote the economy of the area include agricultural activities such as small scale and large scale maize farming, Coffee and Tea plantations that are widely spread in the area.
Bungoma County has some factories that provide employment to the residents. Examples of industries in the area are Nzoia Sugar Factory and Webuye Pan Paper Mills. These factories depend on raw materials from the sugar and tree farms in the region.
There are a number of tourist attraction sites in the county that attracts both local and international tourists. Some of the sites include Mt Elgon Reserve, Nabuyole and Malakisi Falls, Sang’alo, Chepkitale Forest, Kiptoro, Ngwarisha, Mackingeny and many more. This has led to development of lodges and hotels that provide accommodation to the tourists.
There are 16 micro finance institutions and 13 commercial banks in Bungoma County that provide financial services to the residents. This banks help to promote economic growth in the county due to the provision of loans and other services.
Education is key to success in life. The Government of Kenya and other non-governmental organisations have set up many education institutions all over Bungoma County. Some of the institutions include:
- Masinde Muliro University
- Sang’alo Institute
- Kisiwa Institute
- Moi University Satellite Campus
- Kibabii TTC
There are also 207 secondary schools and 804 primary schools. The large number of learning institutions helps to reduce the levels of illiteracy in Bungoma County.