Habiba Fora

Feb 24, 2017

Mombasa, Kenya

Kilifi County

Kilifi County was formed in 2010 after the promulgation of the Kenyan constitution. It is located at coordinates 3.0023° S, 39.8167° E covering a total area of 12,245.90 km2 (4,728.17 sq. m). Its administrative center is Kilifi and its largest town is Malindi.
The county has a population of 1,109,735. It constitutes 2.9 % of the national population ranked 8/47, 58.3% of the populations are male while 51.7% are female. It shares 25.7 % of the national urban population ranked 13/47 (Commission Revenue Allocation 2011). Malindi town is the largest urban population taking 11% of the county’s population, Kilifi 4%, Mtwapa 4%,Mariakani 2%, Watamu 1%, Majengo 1%, Mazeras 1%, Magarini 1%, Njiabini 1%, Marereni 1%, Kaloleni 1%.

The county has a strong industrial base with salt farming as the major economic activity in Magarini Constituency. The area has seven operational salt farming companies which include Krystalline Salt Limited, KEMU Salt Packers Production Limited, Kurawa Industries Limited, Malindi Salt Works, Kensalt Limited, Kurawa Salt Limited and Kaysalt Works Limited.

Apart from salt mining, other major industrial activities in Kilifi County include cement production by Tororo and Rhino Cement Company. Sand harvesting is also carried out in Magarini Constituency.
Agricultural production is also practiced in the area. Main food crops grown are maize, cassava, cowpeas and green grams while the cash crops are coconuts, cashew nuts and simsim (GoK, 2005). Horticultural crops such as mangoes, citrus, pineapples, bananas, tomatoes and watermelon are also grown. Animal husbandry is also practiced where various types of livestock breeds of cattle, poultry, goats, sheep and bees are reared.

1. Deforestation of Mangrove Forests.
2. Salinization of fresh ground and surface water –This is attributed to deliberate contamination of the water sources through dumping of salt and incidental contamination through underground leaching and discharge of hyper-saline water by the salt mining companies.
3. Water Pollution-These occurs through the discharge of concentrated salty effluent, solid wastes and contaminants mainly to the ocean.
4. Reduced land cover and soil fertility-Increased salinity in the soil from the salt mining processes has made it difficult for most crops to survive in the highly saline soils hence reduced food production.
5. Diversion of Natural River Courses-Salt mining companies diverts river courses in order to protect their salt pans from flooding or dilution. The diversion of river from its natural course affects the local’s livelihood and biota sustainability.
6. The rate of poverty (adult equivalent poverty headcount) is 70.8% higher than the national rate of 45.9% and it is ranked 39/47.
7. Displacement of people from their lands by the salt firms to create room for expansion of their activities.
8. Rampant illiteracy was observed from the respondents.

The following ought to be done to mitigate the challenges above.
1. Enacting laws to protect the remaining mangroves.
2. Reforestation of mangrove trees.
3. Desalinization of the waste waters from the firms.
4. Provision of clean drinking water by the firms as part of their CSR.
5. Setting up proper arrangement for compensation and relocation of the displaced.
6. Introducing scholarships for the needy and performing learners at all levels.
7. Providing employment with proper enumeration to reduce the poverty levels.
8. Promoting civic education to create awareness on environmental and human rights to the community.