Regional Facts

The S. Asembo area does have several features that are conducive to sustainable development. These include an attractive climate allowing a variety of crops; although an arid area, the soils in S. Asembo have good agricultural potential as shown by several studies over many decades; potential access to abundant good water for people, animals and crops in water-rich and shallow aquifers; a population well-known for being hard-working and receptive to innovation and to be some of the most enterprising people in Kenya; a people also deeply experienced in (albeit “pre-industrial”) agricultural, livestock and fisheries production; major urban centers (such as Kisumu) providing marketing services and technical resources for infrastructure development; a major airport; a nearby university with technical expertise in agriculture, economic development, public health, etc.; extensive bio-diversity (Lake Victoria, nearby wildlife areas) making it attractive to tourism and eco-tourism.

Thus, the Asembo area (and the Lake Victoria Basin generally) could become a model of integrated development with Kisumu as a regional transport hub for export, thanks to its central geographical location on the main east-west highway and on the main rail line, both of which extend west into central Africa and east to the large coastal port of Mombasa.

The largely untapped agricultural and economic potential of S. Asembo/Nyamor is limited primarily by five factors:

(1) residents’ poor health and lack of stamina due to chronic waterborne (and other) diseases;

(2) heavy demands on their time trekking to collect water for household use, leaving little time or energy for economically productive activities;

(3) insufficient and uneven rainfall for crops and livestock across the year (the Asembo area has the lowest rainfall in all of western Kenya);

(4) livestock debilitated by waterborne parasitic disease and therefore not highly productive either for milk or meat;

(5) a lack of infrastructure and modern technical expertise and agricultural technology (e.g., tractors, trucks) for plowing, planting, cultivation, harvest and transport to market that severely limits the scale and productivity of farming.