KITUI COUNTY REVIEW:
Kitui County is one of the counties located in the eastern parts of the county. It covers a total area of 30,496.5 kilometres squared making it one of the largest counties in the country. It borders Taita Taveta, Machakos, Embu and Tharaka Nithi Counties.
According to a national census exercise that was carried out in 2009, the total population of the county is approximated to be 1,012,709. Kitui County is amount the highly populated counties in the country. 13.8% of the total population reside in the urban areas and the rest reside in the rural areas.
Kitui Constituency has a total of six constituencies according to the Kenya National Boundaries. They include:
- Kitui Central Constituency
- Kitui West Constituency
- Kitui South Constituency
- Mwingi North Constiuency
- Mwingi South Constituency
- Mutito Constituency
Districts mapped in the county include Kitui, Mutomo, Mwingi and Nyuso.
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
Kitui County is located in the semi arid parts of the county and this explains the high temperatures and low rainfall amounts received in the county. The county lies in the lowland and has an average altitude of between 400 and 1800 metres above the sea level. Kitui County receives an average rainfall of between 500 and 1050 millimetres per annum which is not evenly distributed in the year. Some parts of the county receive very low amount of rainfall and this hinders farmers from carrying out certain agricultural activities such as tea or coffee growing.
Effects of soil erosion in Kitui County
January is the hottest month while July is the coldest. Temperatures range between 14 degrees Celsius during the cold month and 34 degrees Celsius during the hottest month. Scientists and Meteorologists however project that this weather patterns are subject to change in future is the necessary measures to control global warming and climate change are not implemented in time.
Soils in some parts of the county are very fertile and contain all the plant nutrients but in some areas the soils are very poor and contain low amounts of humus and have low water holding capacity. The suitability of the soils determines the kind of agricultural activities carried out in a particular region. In the flat regions, flooding is experienced especially during the long rains seasons.
This is the main economic activity in Kitui County; crops grown in here are those that are well adapted to the soils and weather patterns of the area. Coffee is grown in the high parts of the county and this attributed to the fertile soils and high rainfall amounts received in the county. Other cash crops include cotton, tobacco and horticultural products.
Sisal plants used for weaving traditionally
In the lowland residents practise livestock farming, some of the animals kept include cattle, sheep and goats and chicken. This helps to meet the demand for animal products in the county such as meat, milk, eggs and other dairy products. The animals are kept on small scale and large scale depending on the available land, pastures and water.
Other crops grown mainly for subsistence farming include beans, sorghum, cassava, pigeon peas, millet and maize. Part of the produce is consumed at home while the surplus is sold in the agricultural markets that are mostly located in the urban centres.
Agriculture is the main economic activity in Kitui County. Farmers are able to meet their various financial obligations from the sale of the farm products such as coffee, cotton and tobacco. There are many factories that process the respective products and this in turn provides alternative employment to the residents.
Tourism is another sector that contributes to the economy of the county. Some of the major tourist attractions include Mwingi National Reserve and Tsavo East National Park. Both local and tourist visit this areas and this in turn helps in generation of revenue that is used to improve certain sectors such as transport and sanitation.
One of the tourist hotels
Developers have constructed residential houses in the urban areas to provide affordable accommodation to the residents. Hotels and lodges have being set in and around the tourist attraction sites that provide quality catering and accommodation to the tourists.
There are a total of four commercial banks and over seven micro-finance institutions that provide financial services to the residents.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
There are more than one thousand primary schools and over one hundred secondary schools that provide quality education to the scholars in the county. With over two hundred districts and more than 150 dispensaries, Kitui County residents have access to health services any time of the day.