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Isiolo County

Isiolo County lies in eastern Kenya and is divided into two sub counties: Isiolo North and Isiolo South.
The county is mostly characterized by low lying plains even though the topography rises significantly in certain parts of the county.
Classified as an arid and semi-arid region, the country is hot and dry for most parts of the year. It experiences two rainy seasons- the long rains occur between March and May while the short rains occur between the months of October and December.
The amount of rainfall is influenced by the topography of land- the higher ground areas nearing Mt. Kenya and Nyambene Hills receive higher rainfalls of up to 670mm per year while the drier eastern and north eastern parts of the county receive less than 300mm.
The county records high temperatures throughout the year averaging 29 degrees centigrade, even though temperature is also influenced by differences in altitude.Isiolo County records more than nine hours of sunshine per day, presenting a huge potential for harvesting of solar energy.
Monsoon winds blow across the county for most part of the year and peak during the months of July to August, again presenting opportunities for tapping into wind generated energy.Agricultural activities in the county are largely dependent on irrigation because rainfed agriculture is not sufficient in most areas.
Over 2,000 hectares of land have potential for irrigation even though only up to 30% of this is under irrigation. Even though a large part of the county is arid and cannot support rainfed agriculture, the country produces the following crops through irrigation: maize, sorghum, beans, green grams,rice, cowpeas, dolicos, kales, tomatoes, onions and watermelon.
Alongside these crops, fruit trees such as pawpaw, avocado, citrus, mango and guava are also grown.
These act as windbreaks and also improve the soil fertility.
Livestock production forms the backbone of the county’s economy with over 80% of inhabitants depending on it to support their livelihoods.
Nomadic pastoralism defines the lifestyle of the people of Isiolo even though it has impacted negatively on the environment over the years due to overgrazing and overstocking.
Livestock kept include cattle, goats, sheep, camel and poultry. Breeds of livestock kept are mostly resistant to drought and diseases. Even though the county has potential for beekeeping, this has not been fully utilized because of inadequate investments in this sector.
The only honey refinery in Isiolo town is underutilized because of low honey production. The County Government lists Oldonyiro, Isiolo Central, Merti and Kinna as potential areas for this kind of economic activity.

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