Irrigation board to fix Mwea canals ahead of rice planting season

Irrigation board to fix Mwea canals ahead of rice planting season
NIB Generl Manager Gitonga Mugambi during a tour of the Mwea Irrigation Scheme

The National Irrigation Board (NIB) has begun an exercise to salvage rice paddies at the Mwea Irrigation scheme damaged by excess flooding.

This after rice farmers expressed fears of massive losses following the heavy rains that caused flooding in the area.

However according to the National Irrigation Board, there is no major cause for alarm as it plans to repair damaged canals and speed up land preparation ahead of the planting season that starts in July.

NIB General Manager Gitonga Mugambi said construction of the water canals will start this week further advising rice farmers that seedling transplanting will start as scheduled.

“We have a lot of water and when we start flooding where we used to flood 200 acres we can now flood 1,000 acres. When it comes to land preparation, there is a lot of capacity in this area and we feel we are within the program and we will not be late at all,” Mr Mugambi said during a tour of the scheme.

The price of rice in Mwea has dropped by 21 percent since May last year when it sold for Sh170 per kilo to Sh140 currently.

The scheme last year suffered from acute drought which saw prices rise but have since risen through the year.

The Mwea irrigation scheme accounts for 80 percent of the country’s rice production.

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Story By Johnson Muriithi
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