World Bank grants Kenya US$120m to boost irrigation strategy as many African governments race to end rain-fed agricultural system

AFRICA – The World Bank has backed Kenya’s Sh389 billion (US$3.1 billion) new roadmap titled National Irrigation Services Strategy, which aims to boost and strengthen irrigation infrastructure and support the realization of food security in the country with a Ksh15 billion (approx. US$120m) for water projects in five ASAL counties.

The projects being implemented by the Ministry of Water target an estimated 1.5 million people in the particular counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa.

The six-year project under the World Bank’s regional project dubbed Horn of Africa Ground Water for Resilience started with survey identification of the projects last year and is due for completion by 2027.

Water CS Alice Wahome, who presided over the launch, assured the financier of prudent utilization of funds issuing a warning shot to those hellbent on misusing it.

CEOs of the Water Sector Trust Fund, Water Resources Authority, and Regional center for water resources said moving forward, they are going to embrace the use of technology in the management of water.

The HoAGW4RP is a regional program that also involves Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, and IGAD.

The joint implementation of the program, according to World Bank, is to foster regional integration of the communities living in the borderlands within the Horn of Africa.

Also betting on irrigation to achieve food security and improve nutrition among its people, the Tanzanian government is setting aside 36bn/- to facilitate research on how to use water basins to improve food production to end dependency on rain-fed agriculture.

Agriculture minister Hussein Bashe has also announced that a new fertilizer factory to produce one million tonnes while the country’s needs are pegged at 400,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes would be launched soon, with other strategies taken up as widening irrigation agriculture.

In Togo, the government plans to devote 13 billion FCFA to food security in 2023, according to the finance law.

The budget targets to support initiatives aimed at quantitative production in the agricultural sector to achieve self-sufficiency, food security, and sovereignty advocated by the authorities., without recourse to imports.

The allocation will also enable Togo’s National Food Security Agency (ANSAT) to continue implementing its cereal purchasing and storage policy.

This allocation represents 25% of the 2023 budget of the Ministry of Agriculture, which stands at 52 billion.

This is part of the executive’s commitment to the structural transformation of agriculture and has made the development of this sector a priority through various projects and programs.

” We must feed ourselves, live from our agricultural activities, provide for our own needs and those of our families to better invest in the economic development of the country,” declared President Faure Gnassingbé in Tsévié, at the close of the Forum of Agricultural Producers of Togo (FoPAT).

Elsewhere, Egypt represented by its Irrigation Minister Hany Suweilam has had a meeting with German Ambassador in Cairo Frank Hartmann as a means of boosting bilateral cooperation, especially in light of a deal signed between the two countries in November to rehabilitate canals and waterways in the Delta city of Behaira using environment-friendly techniques.

Cairo and Berlin have agreed to outline technical studies about advanced irrigation systems that should be used in Egypt instead of flood irrigation, Suweilam said.

He added that his talks with Hartmann also tackled what role, if any, Germany could play to support top-priority water projects, thus contributing to achieving optimal use of water and food security, especially in the most vulnerable areas.

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