THARAKA NITHI COUNTY REVIEW :
Tharaka Nithi County is located in the eastern sides of Kenya in the former Eastern Province. Some of the counties that border it include Embu, Kitui and Meru. It covers a total area of 2,638.8 kilometres squared hence it is among the smallest counties in the country.
According to the National Census exercise that was carried out in 2009, the total number of people living in the county is estimated to be 130,098. 6.6% of the total population resides in the urban areas of the county while the rest live in the rural areas. Tharaka Nithi County is one of the counties that have the lowest population in the country. Population density in the region is approximated to be around 138 person per kilometre squared.
Tharaka Nithi County has only two constituencies namely:
- Nithi Constituency
- Tharaka Constituency
Tharaka District is the only county that has being mapped as part of the county.
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
The average altitude of Tharaka Nithi County is approximated to be around 1200 meters above the sea level and this explains the temperature regimes in different parts of the county. The coldest month in the county is July when the temperatures fall up to 11 degrees Celsius and 25.9 degrees Celsius during the hottest period.
The average rainfall received in the county ranges between 200 and 800mm per year but these figures are expected to change if the necessary measures of curbing climate change and global warming are not implemented in time. The soils in Tharaka Nithi County is very fertile, has high water holding capacity and high organic matter content. This enables the farmers to grow a wide range of crops under irrigation and natural conditions.
This is one of the major economic activities carried out by the residents of the county. Some of the crops grown include tea, horticulture, maize, millet, beans, cowpeas, cassava, cotton and cassava. Some of these crops are able to grow even in harsh condition and this turn helps to alienate hunger and poverty in the county especially during the dry season.
Some of the farmers also keep livestock for domestic and commercial purposes. Some of the animal kept includes cattle, goats, sheep, chicken and rabbits. Dairy farming is very popular in Tharaka Nithi County, farmers keep indigenous and exotic breed of dairy cattle and this in turn helps to increase the yields generated from the sector. In the recent past some of the farmers have started fish farming in order to supplement the other food sources. This has helped to promote food security in the county.
Agriculture is the main economic activity carried out in the region. Some of the cash crops grown in plantations and small scale include tea, cotton and coffee. There are several factories that buy and process tea and coffee from the farmers. This factories offer employment to very many people who work in the farms and factories.
Other farm products such as maize, sorghum, millet, cassava and cowpeas are consumed locally while the surplus is transported to the various agricultural markets in the county and nearby counties. The sale of these products provides the farmers with some capital to cater for the various financial needs.
Retail and wholesale businesses have also being set up in the urban areas of Tharaka Nithi County. These businesses help to promote development and economic growth in the county. Real estate entrepreneurs have built apartment, hotels and entertainment joints that provide quality services especially in the urban areas. There are several hotel and lodges that provide quality accommodation and catering services to tourist who visit the tourist attraction sites. One of the main tourist attraction sites is Mutejwa National Reserve which has a wide variety of wild animals and almost all bird species in the world.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
According to a research that was carried out in 2007 the total number of primary schools in Tharaka Nithi County was found to be 168 while the secondary schools are 24. These learning facilities ensure that all persons in the county get access to affordable and quality basic education. Chuka University College is one of the higher learning facilities in the county.
One of the learning institutions in the county
There are eighty eight district hospitals and over 40 dispensaries that provide quality health services to the residents of the county.