KERICHO COUNTY REVIEW
Kericho County is located in the highland of the Rift Valley and covers an area of approximately 2,479 kilometres squared. It borders nandi county to the North, bomet county to the South, Baringo to the East, Nyamira and Homa-bay counties to the South West. The administrative centre of the county is Kericho Town.
The population is estimated to be 758,339 with equal number of males and females which is not the case in most of the other counties. The population density according to the 2009 national census is 306 persons per kilometre squared. It is estimated that 38.7% of the population live in the urban areas of the county while the rest reside in the rural areas in the county.
Kericho County has 5 constituencies namely:
- Buret Constituency
- Belgut Constituency
- Kipkelion Constituency
- Ainamoi Constituency
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
This is one of the main areas in Kericho County county that receives high amount of rainfall throughout the year. The average rainfall received range between 1400mm- 2000mm and this enables the residents to grow a wide range of crops.
Temperatures range between 16 degrees Celsius during the cold season and 20 degrees Celsius during the hot season. The high altitude is the main contributor to the low temperatures and high rainfall received in the region. This in turn contributes to an evergreen land cover in the county which helps to reduce soil erosion and increase humidity in the atmosphere.
The soils are slightly acidic with a ph of 5.5 which favours growth of tea and coffee. The soils are loam, well drained and have most of the plant nutrients required for plant growth. The slopes in the county are gentle hence soil erosion or flooding are not a problem here.
Kericho County is a very important water catchment area in the country due to the many rivers that originate from this area and provide water for both domestic and commercial purposes.
Tea and coffee are some of the major cash crops that are grown in the area. Kericho county is famous for the high quality tea produce from the various tea plantations situated in the area. Some of the tea companies that operate from this area include Unilever Kenya, Ketepa, James Finaly and Williamson Company. All this companies have tea plantations that produce tonnes of tea that is consumed locally and the surplus is exported to other countries such as Britain.
Farmers also practise dairy farming where high grade dairy cattle are kept for milk production. Beef farming is also practised but by a small number of the farmers in the area. Horticulture and floriculture is also practised in the county. Wheat and fish farming are some of the emergent agricultural activities in the area.
Other crops grown mainly for subsistence purposes include maize, potatoes, vegetables and beans.
Tea growing is one of the major economic activities that provide the residents with a source of income. Tea harvested is processed by the various tea factories in the county. Horticulture and Floriculture produce flowers and fruits that are exported to other continents such as Europe and U.S.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter are packaged and sold in the major towns and cities in country. Coffee harvested from the farms is also processed and exported hence earning the country and farmers some source of foreign exchange from the sale of the products.
Local and international tourist visits Kericho county to see the beautiful sceneries. Some of the tourist attractions are Mau Forest, Bird watching, Monkey Sanctuary and Chagic Botanic Garden. Researchers and scholars also visit the tea and coffee plantations to learn about the various activities carried out in the area.
The area has well all weather roads network that contribute to the high economic growth in Kericho county. However the government still needs to put in place initiatives to counter the high poverty level in the county which is estimated to be 42.8%.
There are four micro-finance institutions and nine commercial banks that provide financial services to the residents.
EDUCATION AND HEALTH
The area has 136 district hospitals, 105 health centres, three sub district hospitals and other private health facilities hence residents are able to get easy access to health services that are affordable.
There are also Youth polytechnics, Technical colleges and University such as University Satellite Campus and numerous public and private secondary and primary schools. This has helped to alienate illiteracy in the county.