Aaron Nanok, 31

UN Person of the Year Award winner 2022

My Story

Since Aaron was born, billions of shillings have been spent by governments to change the mindset of drought-stricken residents from relying on relief food to sustainable agriculture.

Irrigation projects are most times abandoned after the first or second harvest.

However, Aaron, a senior agronomist in charge of agri-nutrition in the department of agriculture, Turkana County is on a mission.

“I am passionate about ensuring everyone has food,” he says. Growing up in Lokwii Village, Lokori/Kochodin Ward in Turkana East Sub County, he saw people practising farming, relying on Lokubae irrigation scheme for crop production when their livestock was wiped out by drought.

"My farm ensures my family has enough food as well as supply to those I seek their services to water the crops. The surplus is sold and proceeds reinvested in the farm."

He now grows maize, sorghum, kale, traditional vegetables, green grams, and cowpeas.

“My farm ensures my family has enough food as well as supply to those I seek their services to water the crops. The surplus is sold and proceeds reinvested in the farm to diversify crops and maintain the canals,” he says.

What piqued his interest in farming is how he saw his mother earn money that she used to pay his school fees.

“Even if a Turkana family has livestock, they can’t sell livestock even if it is the only remaining possession to get a child back to school. I am happy my family realised the benefits of irrigated farming,” he says.

He has a demo plot where villagers who have an interest in farming are trained or when the farmers want to introduce a new crop variety.

Already, his training has seen some farmers invest in their own shallow wells that are providing water throughout the year.

“Farming as a business opens the mind of a farmer who thinks of ways of getting water for their crops that will give him or her an income as opposed to primarily relying on aid,” he says.

Aaron received the UN in Kenya Person of the Year 2022 Award. He was recognised for his commitment in sustainable agriculture in Turkana.

Aaron did a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management at Egerton University. He also has a Master of Science degree in Food Security and Community Nutrition and diploma in Integrated Water and Resource Management from Israel.

Sammy Lutta