Kenya embarks on expansion of irrigation schemes to boost agricultural productivity

KENYA – The government of Kenya through the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has embarked on expansion of Ahero and West Kano Irrigation Schemes to boost rice and horticultural production in the country.

Under the program, an additional 10,700 acres will be put under irrigation at the two schemes bringing the total acreage to 18, 500.

Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary (PS) Joseph Irungu said the expansion will net more farmers to scale up production as envisioned in the national governments big four agenda pillar on food security, reports KBC.

The PS disclosed that his ministry has already spent Ksh 270 million (US$2.4m) to open up 7, 700 acres at West Kano Irrigation scheme which was adversely affected by the recent floods.

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“What we are doing here today may appear small but it will help us to reach the target of 700, 000 by the year 2022.”

Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary – Joseph Irungu

In Ahero, the Kabong’o water supply, he said, will be up and running in a months’ time opening up 3, 000 more acres.

Kenya has only 500, 000 acres of land currently under irrigation with a potential of 1.9 million acres across the country. The government is targeting to boost the acreage to 700, 000 by the year 2022.

“What we are doing here today may appear small but it will help us to reach the target of 700, 000 by the year 2022,” PS Irungu said.

In the Western Kenya region, an additional 37, 000 acres has been earmarked for irrigation by the year 2022. The new projects will target Lower Nzoia and Lower Kuja which have a lot of irrigation potential.

The water and irrigation ministry also received 27, 000 bags of fertilizer worth Ksh. 70 million (635,000), a donation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support rice farmers in the area.

The fertilizer amongst other interventions by the government, will boost rice production in the two schemes.

Meanwhile, the state has launched a US$13 million water and sanitation project in Bomet County in western Kenya which will benefit three towns.

The water project is being financed with a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and is being implemented by the Lake Victoria South Water Works Development Agency (LVSWWD), an agency of the Kenyan Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation.

The new water and sanitation facilities will benefit 216,850 people, mainly in the towns of Bomet, Longisa and Mulot where work has already started.

The project is implemented within the framework of the Sustainable Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Programme in Kenya, whose objective is to improve the reliability of water and sanitation services; raise the overall level of public health in the beneficiary cities; strengthen the operation and maintenance capacity of water service providers; and improve the operating conditions of water and sanitation dependent enterprises.

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