Laikipia County is one of the largest counties in the Kenya and covers an area of 9,462 kilometres squared. It borders isiolo county to the North East and samburu county to the North. Other counties that are bounders it includes Meru, Nyeri and Nyandarua. It is located along the Rift Valley.
POPULATION OF LAIKIPIA COUNTY
According to the national census program that was carried out in 2009 the population of Laikipia county is estimated to be around 399,227. 60% of the population in the county are from the kikuyu community while the rest is divided between the Maasai and other pastoral communities. 24.8% of the population reside in the urban areas in the county.
CONSTITUENCIES IN LAIKIPIA COUNTY
Laikipia county is made up of two constituencies namely:
- Laikipia West
- Laikipia East
Some of the districts in the area are Laikipia west, Laikipia East, Laikipia North.
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
The climatic patterns experienced in Laikipia county are attributed to the proximity of the county to Mt Kenya and the Equator. The area experiences high temperatures in most parts of the year with an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. The county experiences bimodal type of rainfall whereby the long rains occur between March and May while the short rains are usually experienced between October and November. The average amount of rainfall received is approximately 400mm in the east parts of the county while the western part receives 1000mm per year. The difference in rainfall contributes to the diverse agricultural activities carried out in the area. These patterns are subject to change if the necessary measures to mitigate climate change and global warming are not implemented in time.
The area has a high altitude of 1700-2600mm and this contributes to the cool temperatures experienced in some parts of the county. The county is a plateau hence soil erosion is not a major problem here, however deposition of materials from the uplands is very common.
Soils are volcanic with high water holding capacity. In the western part of the county the soils are very fertile and this enables the residents to plant many crops on the land.
This contributes a greater percentage to the economy of the area. In the Laikipia East the high temperatures and low rainfall hinder crop farming, instead the farmers practise livestock keeping which is usually practised in ranches. Some of the animals kept include goats, camel, sheep and cattle. This supplies animal products to the residents of the county and neighbouring towns such as Nanyuki and Nyeri. The area is known for the high quality meat produced from the ranches.
In Laikipia West farmers are able to plant a wide variety of crops due to the favourable climatic conditions experienced here. Some of the crops grown include bananas, maize, potatoes and vegetables such as kales and cabbages. Some farmers practise large scale farming where they plant wheat and barley as well as maize. It is important to note that the main form of farming is mixed farming whereby farmers incorporate animals and crops in the same farm/area.
Some of the farmers also practise horticultural farming in green houses.
Agriculture is one of the major economic activities carried out in this region. There are many ranches in the area that utilize the nutritious pastures in the county. This is usually the case in the eastern part of the county while in the western part the main economic activity is crop farming which produce maize, wheat, barley, potatoes and many other product that are consumed locally while the surplus is transported to other parts of the country. Horticulture also boosts the economy of the county.
Dairy farming also provide the resident with a source of income that is generated from the sale of milk to the numerous dairies and co-operative companies that operate in the county.
Businesses have been set up in the major towns such as supermarkets and petrol stations that ensure that the residents get easy access to their basic needs.
TOURISM IN LAIKIPIA COUNTY
There are a number of tourist attractions in Laikipia County that attract both local and international tourists. This includes:
- Ole Pajeta Conservancy
- Thompson falls
- Laikipia Plateau reserve
These sites are very rich in biodiversity and are managed by the National Museums and Ministry of Tourism.