The Walda Integrated Agro-Pastoralism Development Project, spearheaded by the Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority (ENNDA), is a transformative initiative that promises to revolutionize livestock management and uplift the livelihoods of pastoralist communities in Marsabit County, Kenya. At its core, the project aims to establish a state-of-the-art livestock feedlot in Walda, designed to enhance food security, improve livestock productivity, and serve as a model for sustainable and efficient livestock management practices.

The project’s impact on the region’s development is multifaceted and far-reaching. By targeting an estimated 300,000 pastoralist community members, including approximately 60,000 livestock-owning households, the project has the potential to transform the economic landscape of Marsabit County. The establishment of the feedlot will provide a reliable source of quality livestock feed, mitigating the devastating effects of droughts on herds and ensuring a more stable and resilient livestock sector.

The adoption of the innovative Silvopastoral System, which integrates livestock management with agroforestry, is a game-changer in the realm of sustainable development. By cultivating trees, shrubs, and forage crops within the pasture environment, the project promotes ecological balance, enhances soil fertility, and improves water retention. This holistic approach not only benefits the livestock but also contributes to the long-term health and productivity of the land, reducing the risk of land degradation and promoting environmental conservation.

The project’s ambitious outputs are a testament to its comprehensive approach to development. The construction of a 2 million cubic meters water capacity dam and the drilling and equipping of 5 boreholes will ensure a reliable water supply for livestock and fodder production. The cultivation of 1,000 acres of fodder crops, grass, and pasture legumes, along with the growth of 2 million assorted trees, will create a sustainable ecosystem that supports the feedlot’s operations while contributing to the region’s ecological well-being.

The economic benefits of the Walda Integrated Agro-Pastoralism Development Project are substantial. With the capacity to support the specialized fattening of around 5,000 heads of cattle and smallstock annually, the feedlot will significantly boost livestock productivity and market value. Pastoralists will benefit from enhanced incomes through the sale of fattened livestock at premium prices, while the increased local availability and affordability of meat and dairy products will contribute to improved food security and nutrition in the region.

Beyond the direct economic gains, the project has the potential to catalyze broader socio-economic development in Marsabit County. The creation of job opportunities along the livestock value chain will stimulate the local economy, providing employment and income-generating prospects for the community. Moreover, the project’s emphasis on community empowerment through training and sensitization programs will equip 1,000 community members with valuable skills in sustainable livestock production technologies, adoption of drought-resilient breeds, fodder production and storage, silage making, and crop residue management. This capacity building will foster a more knowledgeable and resilient community, better equipped to navigate the challenges posed by the changing climate.

The Walda Integrated Agro-Pastoralism Development Project also holds significant potential for replication and scaling up. As a model for climate-smart livestock development, the project’s success can inspire similar initiatives across other Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) regions, promoting sustainable livestock management practices and contributing to the overall development of Kenya’s livestock sector.