Ol Kalou Town Guide
Ol Kalou Town is a town in Nyandarua county Kenya. It is the headquarters of Nyandarua County of Central Province. It is located west of Aberdare range and 40 kilometres east of Nakuru. Ol Kalou is connected by road to Gilgil, Nyahururu and Nakuru.
Ol Kalou town has five wards: Gichungo, Kaimbaga, Ol Kalou, Ol Kalou Central and Rurii. All of them are located within Ol Kalou Constituency. Ol Kalou is also headquarters of Ol Kalou division of Nyandarua District.
Population of Ol Kalou Town
Ol Kalou constituency has a population of 216,000. There are 83,800 registered voters spread over 12 elective wards. It is a high potential agricultural area.
Ol Kalou Town Geography
Ol Kalou is a high altitude area lying to the west of Aberdare Mountains. It has a cool climate and good rainfall. There are a few large rivers such as River Malewa while the rest are is small and seasonal. Lake Ol Bollosat is the largest water mass in Ol Kalou and Central province at large. It is supplied with water from the Aberdares by Wanjohi River and some numerous small streams. The lake forms the boundary between Ol Kalou Constituency and Ndaragwa Constituency.
Ol Kalou Town Economic Activities
Ol Kalou has immense potential to produce food and cash crops for its people and the country at large. Farming is a major economic engagement with dairy farming in Kenya and food crop production as the mainstay of the local economy. In the last ten years, flower farming has made an entry in the form of large farms.
Pyrethrum Farming in Ol Kalou
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, pyrethrum was an important cash crop. Its importance has declined drastically due to marketing challenges and poor handling by the Pyrethrum Board. Non payment for delivered produce and late payment has demoralized farmer’s morale resulting in uprooting of the crop and venturing into alternative investments.
Potato Farming in Ol Kalou
The potato is currently the important crop in the Ol Kalou. It is produced for income and domestic consumption. In the past it was quite frustrating for the potato farmers on account of middlemen who used exploit farmers. The middlemen made a kill from the farmers by demanding that the bags be extended at the top to almost double their normal or standard gunny bag. With an improved road network, buyers now come from far and wide allowing farmers to get a better return. With access to farmlands increasing, the farmer’s dues from the crop have shot up.
As mentioned elsewhere the area has contributed to the betterment of the potato prices by initiating the move that led to the standardization of the gunny bag used for packaging harvested potatoes.
Dairy farming in Ol Kalou
Most farmers keep dairy cattle in addition to whatever else they do. Milk prices have fluctuated over the years. The most frustrating times were in the late nineties when the Kenya Co-operative Creameries collapsed. Many small volume buyers and brokers mushroomed and many farmers lost money to bogus middlemen.
It was during this period that Ol Kalou dairy was initiated as a farmers’ enterprise to collect, cool and sell the milk in bulk. This dairy plant is now operational. The market has since stabilized with the re-opening of the KCC and the entry of other established milk processors in to the area.
Flower farming in Ol Kalou
In the last ten years, flower farming has made an entry in the form of large farms. There are about 5 large farms in the constituency. The industry is noted for larger number of people employed in the sector. Floriculture is yet to permeate the small scale production sector.
Sheep rearing in Ol Kalou
Farmers also rear sheep for wool. These animals do well the cool climate and are handy for quick cash as they are sold for mutton.
Wheat farming in Ol Kalou
Wheat does especially well in some seasons. This more so in the less wet seasons and if the timing of the planting season is accurate. The main challenge is the rain that comes unpredictably in sudden and large quantities destroying the crop just before harvest. The remedy for wheat lies in the new practice where it is harvested when still green and this may be the way out for the farmers who wish to engage in wheat farming.
Maize farming in Ol Kalou
Maize is staple food as well as income earner for the people of Ol Kalou. The crop does extremely well most seasons. The varieties that grow here are the long, high yielding high breeds that do well in the high altitude areas. Due to the low average temperatures maize takes a rather long period of time to mature. It takes upwards of ten months for the crop to be harvested. Despite this it is useful as food and income for farmers.
Vegetables in Ol Kalou
A variety of vegetables do well in this locality including Carrots, Cabbages and Sukumawiki among others. Peas, beans and soya do extremely well in Ol Kalou. Cabbages are second to potatoes as a cash crop. Cabbages are good for farmers who are able to do proper timing in planting and market demand. Processing for value addition is important goal that framers struggle with every season.
Health in Ol Kalou Town
Ol Kalou town has one major hospital, the Ol Kalou District Hospital situated close to Ol Kalou town. The Nyahururu town District Hospital is also useful to many people from Ol Kalou.
Olkalou Kenya- Photos