KENYA-In a fresh attempt to revive the Galana-Kulalu, a national food security project, President William Ruto in a statement revoked the planned settlement on the 20,000 acres set aside for maize production.
The revival of the irrigation scheme comes at a time when the country is grappling with a wide array of prolonged periods of drought, rising costs of farm inputs, the Ukraine-Russia war, as well as soaring food prices.
At the time of its inception in 2015, Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project, situated within the one million-acre Galana Irrigation complex, was launched under the “Big 4” agenda, as part of the regime’s drive to attain food security.
The project was initiated to help Kenya overcome its perennial shortage of maize, which is at 48 million bags annually and is the staple food in Kenya.
However, the pilot project has for a while now stood as an epitome of the mismanagement and corruption that eats at many third-world countries. The ambitious food security project would have cost the Government KES7.9 billion upon full implementation
Therefore, during his extensive tour with national and county leaders, president Ruto directed that the Private Sector and the Government of Kenya through the National Irrigation Authority under a Public–Private Partnership (PPP) work on the ready 10,000 acres to produce food starting with maize in February this year.
“I direct Private Sector and GOK (the National Irrigation Authority) under a Public–Private Partnership (PPP) to work on the ready 10,000 acres to produce food starting with maize in February,” Ruto said.
Further, the next 10,000 acres will be prepared for production in 6 months under the PPP arrangement where the government will construct a dam beginning in April to bring another 350,000 acres under food production.
“The recommendation from the trial of the project was that we needed to build a dam because the water from the river was not sufficient to do the Galana project. We needed to scale up,” Ruto said during a joint media interview.
The president assured that It is possible to produce 10 million bags from Galana to seal the gap from the duty-free import.
In a statement, he said that Galana can feed three or four million Kenyans adding that it is awkward to settle 10,000 people there who will later rely on food relief.
Among those accompanying the president were Governor Issa Timamy (Lamu), Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi), Abdullswamad Sherrif Nassir (Mombasa), Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), and Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Alice Wahome.