TAITA TAVETA COUNTY REVIEW :
Taita Taveta County is located in the former coastal province. It covers a total area of 17,084.1 kilometres squared and this makes it one of the largest counties in the county. Some of the neighbouring counties include Kilifi and Kwale.
According to the national census population exercise that was carried out in the region, the total number of people in the area is estimated to be 284,657. 64,289 of the total population reside in the urban areas while the rest reside in the rural areas of Taita Taveta County.
Taita Taveta County has a total of four constituencies namely:
- Taveta constituency
- Voi Constituency
- Mwatate Constituency
- Wundanyi Constituency
Taveta and Taita Disticts are some of the districts that have being mapped under this county.
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
Taita Hills are some of the geographic features in Taita Taveta County. This includes hills such as Kasigau, Sagalla and Dabida. The tallest of these hills is Dabida which has an altitude of 2,228 metres above the sea level. The county has an average altitude of 418metres in the low lands and 2,200 meters in the highlands. Temperatures range between 18 degrees Celsius and 24.6 degrees Celsius in the lowlands. The total average temperature of the county is estimated to be 23 degrees Celsius.
60% of the total land covered by Taita Taveta County is not suitable for agriculture due to various factors such as high temperatures and low rainfall. The soils in this region have low water holding capacity and lack some of the essential nutrients required for plant growth. This in turn hinders resident from growing certain crops on the land.
Taita Taveta County is divided into three ecological zones, lower, upper and volcanic foot hills. Horticulture is practised in the upper ecological zones due to the favourable soils and temperatures in the region. In the lower ecological regions the area is generally dry and the only plants that can be grown here are the drought resistant such as sorghum, millet, certain maize species and cashew nuts. These crops have an advantage over the other species due to their fast maturing rate and adaptability to the harsh climatic conditions.
Some of the farmers also keep livestock for production of beef and other dairy products that are mostly consumed locally. This is activity is mainly carried out in lowlands due to the abundant pastures that are very nutritious.
Other crops that are grown in the high land include maize, beans and horticultural crops such as fruits. Sisal farming is also practised on small scale and large scale especially in the rural areas.
There are a number of economic activities carried out in the county. This includes crop farming which is mostly practised in the upper ecological zones of the county. The agricultural products are consumed locally while the surplus is sold in the various agricultural markets in Taita Taveta County.
Tourism also contributes to the economy of the county. One of the tourist attraction sites includes Tsavo Game Reserve and national park which has a rich biodiversity of wild animals and birds. Real Estate developers have built a number of hotels and lodges in and near this tourist attraction sites and this in turn offer employment to some of the residents of the county.
There are six commercial banks and eight micro finance institutions that help to foster economic growth and development in Taita Taveta County. This is achieved through loans that are offered to the residents for business and agricultural purposes. Other businesses in the county include retail and wholesale shops as well as supermarkets and petrol stations. Most of these businesses are located in the urban areas and along the major roads in the county.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
The government has built a number of health facilities in the county that are fully equipped and maintained properly so as to offer quality health services to the residents. In total there are three district hospitals, forty seven dispensaries and more than 20 other health facilities such as maternity homes and nursing homes.
There are a total of 206 primary schools and over fifty secondary schools that offer free basic education to the young generation in the county. However it may be necessary for the government to invest in building more learning institutions and health facilities in order to meet the needs of the ever increasing population.