WAJIR COUNTY REVIEW
Wajir County is located in the former North Eastern province and covers a total of 56,685.8 kilometres squared. It borders somalia on the eastern side. It also borders Isiolo, Garissa and Marsabit Counties.
According to the national census exercise that was carried out in 2009, the total population of the county is approximated to be 661,941 making it one of the lowly populated counties in the country. 14.6% of the total population reside in the urban areas while the rest of the population reside in the rural areas. Settlements are widely distributed with homesteads far from each other. Most of the land in Wajir County is considered under community land since most of the residents are livestock keepers.
Wajir County has four constituencies namely:
- Wajir East Constituency
- Wajir West Constituency
- Wajir North Constituency
- Wajir South Constituency
Some of the districts that are mapped in the county include Wajir (West, South, North and East)
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATE
Wajir County is one of the driest counties in the country and this hinders the residents from carrying out most of the agricultural activities carried out in other parts of the country that receive high rainfall and moderate temperatures.
The topography of the county is generally flat and this contributes to the regular flush floods that damage property and cause loss of life during the rainy season. Most of these floods originate from Ethiopian highlands where rainfall is very high. The county has an average altitude of 460 metres above the sea level and this explains the high temperatures and low rainfall received in the region.
Average rainfall received range between 250 millimetres and 700 millimetres annually hence most crops are not grown since most of them require large amounts of water. The soils are sandy and lack most of the plant nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. Some of the characteristics include low water holding capacity and low humus content.
Residents travel long distances in search of water
Scrubs and other herbaceous plants are the major vegetation cover in the county. This is because of their physiological features such as small leaves and deep roots that enable them to survive under low water availability conditions.
Wajir County is not one of the most favourable regions to practise agriculture unless one plans to implement various soil management practises that are very expensive and uneconomical if they are not implemented right. Some of the crops grown include millet, cassava, arrow roots and sorghum because these crops do not require a lot of water to grow.
Some parts of the county are covered with rocks that hinder implementation of various agricultural projects. However the government aims at introducing agricultural projects that depend on irrigation in the area so as to promote economy and crop production in the county.
One of the many boreholes drilled in the county
Livestock keeping is the main agricultural practise carried out in the county. Residents own large herds of cattle, sheep, goats and camel that are normally grazed in the little pastures available. Due to lack of water and pastures, most of them are nomadic pastoralists who move around with their animals in search of pastures and water for the animals for domestic purposes and for the animals.
ECONOMYThe main economic activity in Wajir County is livestock keeping. Kenya Meat Commission usually purchase animals from the farmers especially during the dry season and this in turn helps to prevent loses that could be incurred by the farmers due to loss of animals in the drought. The beef cattle are also slaughtered locally so as to meet the demand for the products in the urban areas of the county.
Beekeeping is also practised in the county and this helps to increase the countries production of honey and other products such as wax. However this is usually practised on small scale.
There are two commercial banks and three micro-finance institutions in the county that provide the residents with the required financial services. There are commercial businesses established especially in the urban areas and along the major roads. This includes retails and wholesale shops as well as petrol stations.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
There are a total of eighty eight health facilities in Wajir County. This includes dispensaries, district hospitals and health centres. Most of them are not fully equipped to provide quality health services hence the government and other organisations need to improve their status.
There are one hundred and twenty five primary schools and seventeen secondary schools in the County.