Embu County

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Embu County Details

Population: 516,212
Constituencies: Manyatta, Runyenjes, Gachoka, Siakago.

Embu County is a county of Kenya. The capital of Embu County, Embu town is largely metropolitan since it was formerly the Eastern province headquarters.The town is growing at a fast rate.

The county borders Kirinyaga County to the West, Kitui County to the East, Tharaka Nithi County to the North, Machakos County to the South. The County occupies an area of 2,818 km2. It is divided into four constituencies namely;Manyatta, Runyenjes,Mbeere North and Mbeere South which will form Sub-Counties.

Administrative Subdivision

Embu County is divided into five sub-Counties; namely, Embu West with headquarters at Embu town, and Embu North with headquarters at Manyatta. These two form Manyatta constituency, Embu East with headquarters at Runyenjes, Mbeere North with headquarters at Siakago, and Mbeere South with headquarters at Kiritiri.

Political Units

Embu County has four parliamentary constituencies,namely Runyenjes, Manyatta, Mbeere North and Mbeere South.

Physical and Natural Conditions

Physical and Topographic Features

Embu County slopes from North-West towards East and South-East with a few isolated hills such as Kiambere, Kianjiru and Kiang'ombe which rise above the general height and slope. The County is characterised by highlands and lowlands. It rises from about 515m above sea level at the Tana river basin in the East to over 4,570m above sea in the North West which is part of Mt. Kenya.

Embu County is served by six major rivers;for of them, Thuci, Tana, Kii and Rupingazi which form part of the Embu County's boundaries.The other two rivers are Thiba and Ena. All these rivers are perennial. Between Embu town and Thuci river lies an area with an altitude ranging from 910m to 1,525m above sea level. The Southern part of the County is covered by Mwea plains. It then rises Northwards,culminating in hills and valleys to the Northern and Eastern parts.

Climatic Conditions

The rainfall pattern is bi-modal with two distinct rainy seasons.Long rains occur between March and June while the short rains fall between October and December. Rainfall quantity received varies with altitude averaging to about 1067.5mm annually and ranging from 640mm in some areas to as high as 1,495mm per annum.On the higher attitude (above 1700m),the pattern changes to tri-modal. Temperatures range from a minimum of 12 °C in July to a maximum of 30 °C in March with a mean of 21 °C. The extensive altitudinal range of Embu County influences temperatures that range from 20 °C to 30 °C.

July is usually the coldest month with an average monthly temperature of 15 °C while September is the warmest month with an average monthly temperature rising to 27.1 °C. There is however localised climate in some parts of the County especially the Southern region due to their proximity to the Kiambere,Masinga,Kamburu and Kindaruma dams.

Infrastructure and Access

Roads and Airstrips

Embu County has an expansive road network with a coverage of 914.3 km earth surface,548 km of ground surface and 120 km of tarmac including the Meru-Embu Highway and Embu-Kiritiri road. Most of the earth surface roads in Embu County are impassable during rain seasons and need to be either graveled or tarmacked.

Embu County is also host to one Airstrip located at Don Bosco in Embu town and is currently being refurbished.

Posts and Telecommunications

The posts and telecommunications sector is well developed in Embu County. It has two post offices at Embu and Runyenjes and 13 sub-post offices in major trading centres.

Embu County also has a 98 per cent mobile network cover.

Education and ICT

The County was the first to employ Early Childhood Development Education [ECDE] teachers in Kenya. Since January 2014,483 ECDE teachers were employed. There was opening of 10 youth polytechnics:Mutuobare,Mbonzuki,Makawani,Kiamuringa, Munyori,Makima,Kibugu,Kamutu,Muvandori and Kavutiri. There was also procurement of state of the art equipment of the 32 youth polytechnics in the County. Education Bursary for the needy County students in Secondary schools,Youth polytechnics,tertiary institutions and Universities.

Also see Secondary Schools in Kenya , Universities in Kenya & Colleges in Kenya. The County has advertised for land on which to build Youth polytechnics in Nembure,Gitare,Gatumbi and Kithimu.The County is in its final stages of connecting all sub-county headquarters with fibre optic connectivity and putting up digital villages and hot spots.This will largely boost the economy of Embu County by opening up the Local and International markets for all stakeholders especially for farmers to sell their produce online.

Health

The county has a health infrastructure comprising of both public and private facilities. It is the host to Embu Provincial General Hospital and three district hospitals; Runyenjes, Siakago and Ishiara. There are also a large number of smaller health facilities across the county. The main aim of health sector is to create an enabling environment for the provision of sustainable quality health care that is affordable and accessible to the residents. The sector comprises Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation, Research and Development sub-sectors.

Embu County has adhered to the Ministry of Health policy by providing subsidized services, which are affordable to the community. There exists a waiver/ exemption system for those who cannot afford minimized user fees. To Improve access and utilization of health services, the county has opened more dispensaries and health centers as a way of rolling out more services to the community.

Upgrading the existing facilities to offer expanded services has been in the forefront to meet community needs. Collaborating with other partners to offer more and affordable Health services has been inevitable. Early 2014 the county distributed drugs to all health centers in the county and purchased ambulances to aid the community to easily access health services. Also see Hospitals in Kenya.

Economy

Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone and livelihood of the people of Embu County. The sector employs 70.1 per cent of the population and 87.9 per cent of the households are engaged in Agricultural activities. The upper part of Embu County relies mainly on cash crops such as coffee and tea while the lower part mainly produces food crops such as maize, beans, cow peas, bananas, sorghum, tomatoes, pawpaw, avocado and citrus fruits.

The total acreage under food crops is about 14,000 ha compared to the total acreage under cash crops of 19'000 ha. The County heavily relies on Agriculture as the source of livelihood for its people and also as the main economic activity.

Livestock farming is gaining popularity with the revival of milk cooperatives and investment by private sector on milk processing plants. Dairy farming is concentrated in the upper parts of the County while in the lower parts indigenous breeds are reared. The main types of animals reared include cattle,goats, sheep and chicken. Rabbit rearing has also become an attractive venture to the farmers.

The main types of fish in the County include; trout, tilapia, mud fish and cat fish which are available mostly in the hydroelectric dams. The government through the Economic Stimulus Program has constructed 200 fish ponds in each of the four constituencies and the fish harvested is usually sold locally. The Ministry of Fisheries Development has not only supervised the construction of fish pond but also supplied fish food and fish fingerlings to the farmers.

Tourism

Tourism is a key sub-sector that has a high potential in the County for both local and international tourists. Some of the available sites include caves, waterfalls and rocky hills for rock climbers. The County is also a gateway to Mt. Kenya which, if aggressively marketed can bring huge incomes to the County.

The County is also a host to a number of hydro-electric power dams which are a source of tourist attraction for both local and international tourists.The major dams that generate hydroelectric power for the Country are partly in Embu County. These dams include Kiambere,Gitaru,Kindaruma and Masinga all of which are situated along the Tana River.

Two National reserves namely; Mwea and Mt. Kenya that are managed by KWS have great potential for the tourism industry in the County. Other potential tourist attractions include the Nthenge Njeru water falls near Kirimiri. There are a variety of wildlife species such as elephants, buffaloes, lions, bush bulks, baboons, hippos, columbus monkeys and numerous species of birds.

Investment

Challenges

One of the major challenges in Embu County has been the road network which is currently under construction. Major ring-roads connecting major towns are being graded for tarmacking. While other small figure roads have been graded and are being fitted with murram.

Access to water for domestic purposes and farming has been a great challenge. However, Embu County has initiated a program dubbed 'Water for Children' which is set to ensure all public institutions i.e. schools, health institutions, bus parks, markets etc. have access to clean water. Already, through this project 6,000 new domestic connections have been made.

In addition, through the Ministry of Agriculture in Embu County, new irrigation projects have been started especially drip irrigation which has boosted Agricultural produce in the County. Such irrigation projects are in Mbeere South and Mbeere North constituencies which are the semi-arid areas in Embu County.

Opportunities

Embu County is naturally endowed with plenty of land. It slopes on the Eastern side of Mt.Kenya whci is less steep which makes it ideal for fast climbing of Mt. Kenya.It is also ideal for people with disabilities. Five of the seven folks dams are in Embu County and they have been sighted as ideal for water sports such as kayaking.

3,000 acres of land have been set aside for putting up of an industrial park in Macang'a Mbeere South Constituency while Manyatta Constituency will host the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) park. Embu City is in its initial stages of design and construction. Embu County is setting up a talent academy in Embu city and a high altitude training camp in Kigari Manyatta constituency.

Embu County is known for macadamia owing to the fact that it is the largest producer of macadamia in the African Great Lakes. Therefore the County is putting up a macadamia factory in Manyatta constituency for value addition on the product.

Embu County plans to put up tented camps in Mwea National Reserve. Climbing Mt. Kenya through Embu is easier and faster since the route is less steep therefore the County plans to put up some lodges near this route for Mountain climbers. Embu County is the only location that plays host to a spectacular view of the entire solar system on Kianjiru hill in Mbeere South constituency. Therefore the County is looking into partnering with investors to put up a planetarium in the area.

Districts in Embu County: Embu East, Embu West, Embu North, Mbeere South.

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