KWALE COUNTY REVIEW.
Kwale County is one of the counties in the coastal region of Kenya. Districts that make up this county include Msabweni, Matuga and Kinango according the Kenya National Boundaries Commission. It is on the smallest counties in the country
According to the national census program that was carried out in 1999 the total population of the formerly known as Kwale District was estimated to be 496,133. This is projected to have increased up to 700,000 persons before the next census is carried out.
CONSTITUENCIES IN KWALE COUNTY
There are three constituencies that make up Kwale county namely;
- Msambweni Constituency
- Kinago Constituency
- Matuga Constituency
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
Kwale county is located at the coastline of Mombasa and this influences the weather patterns of the area. The county has a low altitude hence flooding occurs in some parts during the heavy rain seasons. The soils are through sedimentation of materials from other parts and this leads to development of very fertile soils that can support a wide range of crops.
Kwale county is cooler as compared to other areas in the coast area due to the cool breeze and land cover in the region. Shimba hills located in the area also contribute to the cool temperatures experienced in the area. Soils are sandy loam and have all the major plant nutrients required by crops grown here.
The climate is generally tropical humid due to the high amounts of humidity that originate from the Indian Ocean. The general altitude of the county is documented to be around 100 to 462 metres above the sea level. Kwale County experience two rain seasons, short rains occur between October and December while the long rains are usually experienced between March and July. The average amount of rainfall received is 400-1200mm per year.
Some of the main rivers that supply both domestic and agricultural water are Ramisi, Marere, Mwalunganje.
This is one of the main economic activities carried out in the area. Some of the crops grown include maize, beans, mangoes and vegetables. Most of the farmers in the county practise mixed farming where they grow crops and rear livestock. Some of the animals kept in the county include dairy and beef cattle, poultry, goats, donkeys and rabbits.
It is approximated that 22% of the residents practise cash crop farming while 18% practise livestock rearing. Due to the hot and dry weather in the area, the most suitable agricultural activity is livestock rearing.
Some farmers have also established fish farms on their land in order to supplement the fish harvested from the ocean. This initiative aims at promoting food security of the area by supplementing the various farm produce from the farms.
ECONOMY OF KWALE COUNTY
Livestock rearing and farming are the major economic activities in Kwale county. Most of the residents are employed in the various agricultural industries while the rest are self employed in their own farms.
Farmers are able to get some income from sale of animal and animal products that are consumed locally and in the neighbouring towns such as Mombasa. Fishing is also practised widely in this area, it is approximated that 60% of the income in most of the households is generated from fishing activities while 11% is generated from trade activities such as sale of farm produce in the various markets in the county.
Tourism contributes to the economy of the county, there are a number of tourist attraction site that attract both local and international tourists in any given year. These sites include Shimba Hills National Reserve that borders Taita Taveta, Tsavo National Park and Marine parks. These tourist attraction areas are protected by the National Museums of Kenya in conjuction with Ministry of Tourism.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
Kwale District hospital is one of the health facilities in the county that is fully equipped with all the necessary health facilities. It provides affordable and accessible health services to the residents of Kwale county. There are also several public and privately owned dispensaries and clinic ensures that all the health needs of the residents are met effectively.
There are also primary and secondary schools in that offer quality education to the residents of the area. However the government needs build more schools so as to eliminate illiteracy completely in the county.