KENYA – The government of Kenya has announced plans to put three million acres of land under irrigation farming by 2030 in an effort to bolster food security, Kenya News Agency has reported.
The revelation was made by Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary (CS) Alice Wahome while launching three community irrigation projects in Murang’a County.
The projects, Nyanjigi in Kangema sub-county, Maragua ridge in Murang’a south, and Boboti Kiamande in Kandara.
According to Wahome, the newly launched project target to provide water for irrigation to more than 2,000 small-scale farmers, adding that they have cost the government a tune of almost KES 500, 000 million about US$4M.
Wahome intimated that the state is implementing several projects in different parts of the country to boost irrigation farming to achieve food security adding that in the next five years, 1. 8 million acres will be put under irrigation from the current 670,000 acres.
The irrigation projects, she noted, will be done in different parts of the country saying the ministry of water will also drill boreholes to complement water sourced from rivers and dams.
During the launch, the CS recalled that the country is yet to stabilize food prices highlighting that there is a shortage of more than 10 million bags of maize which is the country’s staple.
However, the CS started that, negotiations with private and international organizations to fund various irrigation projects in the country has started.
For instance, she added, “Galana-Kulalu will be changed for commercial irrigation and since the government has no required funding, we will invite international organizations to partner in supporting the projects.”
Meanwhile, the CS called upon farmers to form groups and start irrigation projects saying it would be easy for the government to support the community-based projects with needed infrastructure like pipes.
Farmers receive free certified maize
Meanwhile, Farmers in West Pokot County, one of the semi-arid areas in Kenya, are poised for better yields this planting season following a free certified maize seeds distribution program rolled out by the county government.
As reported by NTV News, a total of 323 tons of maize seeds will be distributed to more than 161,000 vulnerable people in the famine-prone semi-arid area to cover more than 80, 000 acres of land for this planting season.
This comes after the region witnessed total crop failure in the last planting season due to the drought in the area leading to high dependency on relief foods amid hunger pangs.
However, the executives are hopeful that the initiative will reduce relief food dependency and food insecurity among smallholders in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands by developing their economic potential.
Speaking while flagging off the maize seeds in Makutano Stadium and starting distribution to various wards, West Pokot county governor H.E Simon Kachapin said the program is a step to boost food production and mitigate food insecurity during drought.