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Herders in Kenya Turn to Farming



For VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

The northern part of the East African nation of Kenya is hot and gets little rain. The area has been suffering from little rainfall or drought for many years. People who live in the Kenya say the droughts are becoming more severe. Herders are among those suffering the most. They are people who move with their animals from place to place. But over the past few years, many of the animals have died. The lack of rain has stopped the growth of grasses and other foods the animals eat. Many of the herders have no animals left, so they have been forced to become farmers.

In their culture, being a herder brings them power and respect. Farmers are not as respected as herders. Ali Abdi was a herder. His family was considered wealthy. He had respect from people in his home district of Garissa, in northern Kenya. Mr. Abdi had about 100 goats. But drought killed most of the animals. So Mr. Abdi turned to farming. He and about twelve others prepared about three hectares of land and planted crops. Now they are growing fruits and vegetables, including bananas, tomatoes, chilies and lemons.

Some local people criticized Mr. Abdi for becoming a farmer. But he is not alone. A few other herders in Garissa began to grow crops with financial help from development organizations and the government. An aid group called African Development Solutions is training the new farmers. They learn how to prepare the land, plant seeds and use the best watering methods. Mr. Abdi now works for the group. He says more herders are turning to farming.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.