WEST POKOT COUNTY REVIEW
West Pokot County is located in the former Rift Valley Province covering a total area of 9,169.4 kilometres squared. It borders Baringo, Trans Nzoia, and Turkana Counties. Kapenguris Town is the administrative centre and most of the government offices are located in this town.
According to the national census that was carried out in 2009, the total population of West Pokot County is estimated to be around 512,690 making is one of the lowly populated counties in the country. A proportion of 8.3% of the total population is approximated to be living in the urban areas while the rest of the population reside in the rural areas in the county.
West Pokot County comprises of three constituencies namely;
• Kacheliba Constituency
• Kapenguria Constituency
• Sigor Constituency
Some of the districts mapped in the county include Pokot Central, North and West according to the National Boundaries Commission.
GEOGRAPGHY AND CLIMATEWest Pokot County experiences moderate climatic and weather patterns due to the average altitude of the county. The average altitude ranges between 1150 and 2000 metres and this in turn explains the difference in temperatures between the lowlands and highlands. In the lowlands temperatures rise up to a high of 30 degrees Celsius while the high regions experience 10 degrees Celsius during the cold months.
Average rainfall received varies between 400 millimetres and 1500 millimetres. The highlands experience more rainfall than the lowlands and this in turn determines the economic activities carried out in the region.
Soils in the lowlands are not very fertile and lack some of the major plant nutrients. However in the highlands the soils are very fertile and have almost all the plant nutrients and have high humus content. Despite the high rainfall received in the highlands the soils have some characteristics that hinder growth of cash crops such as coffee and tea.
There are several natural forests and escarpments that influence the climate as well as enhance the overall beauty of West Pokot County. Most of the rivers are permanent but a few are seasonal. In some parts of the county, resident drill boreholes and wells so as to meet their water requirements especially during the dry season.
Despite the low rainfall and high temperatures experienced in most parts of West Pokot County, agriculture is carried out through implementation of various agricultural practises such as irrigation.
Livestock farming is the major agricultural activity in the county; residents keep large herds of cattle, sheep, goats and camel. This sector helps to meet the demand for animal products in the country and county as a whole. Some of the animal products include milk, meat, hides and eggs.
Bee keeping is also practised in the county and this in turn helps to increase the total amount of honey produced in the county as well as promote financial status of the farmers.
The major economic activities in West Pokot County are in one way or another related to agriculture. This is because most of the residents depend on the practise for their livelihood. The main agricultural activity that is very lucrative in the area is livestock farming. Kenya Meat Commission regularly purchases animals from the farmers especially during the dry season.
Farmers also get some income from sale of surplus farm produce such as beans, maize and vegetables that are usually grown on small scale. Commercial businesses such as shops have been set up in the urban areas of West Pokot County and this helps in ensuring that the residents have access to all their basic needs.
Real Estate developers have also built residential houses in the urban areas as well as lodges and hotels near and in tourist attraction sites in the county. Some of the tourist attractions include Kapenguria Museum and escarpments in the area.
There are two commercial banks and three micro finance institutions that provide affordable and quality financial services to the residents.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
There are a total of three hundred and eighteen primary schools and thirty secondary schools in West Pokot County. There government needs to build more education facilities so as to completely alienate illiteracy in the county.
Learning session for the elderly
In total there are thirty one district hospitals and over thirty dispensaries and health centres in the county.