tana river county REVIEW
Tana River County is located in the Eastern parts of Kenya and covers a total area of 38,436.9 kilometres squared. This is one of the largest counties in the country and it borders Isiolo, Kilifi and Taita Taveta Counties.
According to the national census exercise that was carried out in 2009, the total population of the county is estimated to be 240,075. 15% of the total population resides in the urban areas while the rest of the population live in the rural areas. The population is sparsely distributed whereby settlements are far away from each other. The population density of Tana River County is approximated to be around 6.2 person per kilometre squared.
Tana River County has a total of three constituencies namely:
• Bura Constituency
• Galole Constituency
• Garsen Constituency
Tharaka District is the only district that has being mapped under this county.
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
Tana River County has is located in the semi arid parts of the Kenya. This means that it receives low rainfall and high temperatures that hinder the growth of most of the cash crops that grow in other regions in the country. The average amount of rainfall range between 400 and 750 mm. Temperatures ranges between 30 degrees Celsius and 33 degrees Celsius. The county is generally hot all year round due to its proximity to the equator.
The county is generally flat and this results in flush floods from higher parts of the country especially during the rainy season. Tana River is the main permanent source of water in the county. The water is used both for agriculture and domestic purposes. Some of the farmers also practise fishing in this river in order to supplement other food products produced in the area.
The soils are sandy loam and have the low water holding capacity. They also lack some of the major plant nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and organic matter. The average height above sea level in most parts of the county is 200 meters.
This is one of the activities carried out by the residents of Tana River County. Crop farming is mostly practised along river Tana due to the fertile soils and availability of water in the area. Most of the agricultural activities are carried out under irrigation due to the low and variant rainfall patterns that are subject to change as a result of climate change and global warming. Most of the farmers practise mixed farming in order to enhance their food security especially during the dry season. Some of the crops grown include maize, beans and some horticultural products such as mangoes that grow very well in high temperature areas.
Livestock farming is also practised in some parts of the county on large scale and small scale. Some of the animals kept include cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys and rabbits. Bee keeping is also practised in the area so as to supplement other food products as well as provide some extra income to the farmers.
Fishing is one of the economic activities carried out in Tana River County. This activity is carried out in small scale using small boats fitted with nets. The fish is sold locally while the surplus is transported to other towns and cities in the country.
Farmers are also able to get some income after the sale of the horticultural products to traders in the agricultural markets in the county. Kenya Meat Commission usually purchases animals from the residents and this in turn helps to promote economic growth through alienation of poverty.
There is one commercial bank and a micro finance institution that provide financial services to the residents. Tana River County has over five village banks that enable persons living far away from the urban centres to access banking services around their homes.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
These are the main factors that promote economic growth and development in any given area. There are a total of 137 primary schools and 10 secondary schools in the county. There is need to construct more learning institutions so as to meet the education needs of the ever increasing population.
There are also two district hospitals and forty seven dispensaries that provide health services to the residents. The government should build more health facilities so as to meet all the health needs of the population in Tana River County.