Gov’t turns focus to small scale farmers in push for irrigation-fed agriculture
Water and irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa on Tuesday said that the government would begin supplying irrigation equipment to small-scale farmers across the country so as to curb the effects of the drought affecting approximately 1.3 million Kenyans.
Speaking during the distribution of 100 water pumps and 3,600 meters pipes to small-scale farmers groups at Langobaya in Malindi Kilifi County, the Water and Irrigation CS said Kilifi and Tana River Counties have the potential of feeding the country through irrigation farming.
Wamalwa also clarified that the move is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive in wake of the fight against drought and hunger in the country.
“These counties are blessed with two permanent rivers, Galana and Tana River, whose water can be utilized for irrigation and assist thousands of residents living beside the rivers, rather than its water going waste to the Indian Ocean,” he said.
The CS, who was accompanied by his Mining counterpart Dan Kazungu, national Irrigation Board General Manager Gitonga Mugambi and Coast Water Services Board CEO Joseph Omwange, said that he came to fulfill his pledge of assisting farmers when he visited the area last year December.
“The government shall no longer focus on major irrigation projects like Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme but also invest in small scale farmers in Chakama, Jilore and Kakuyuni since the area has a great agricultural potential to also feed drought-hit areas of Northern Kenya,” he said.
Mr Wamalwa said the government would proceed with drilling boreholes in drought-hit areas to assist residents in domestic and agricultural activities.
“The recent launch of borehole-drilling by President Uhuru at Baricho waters at Langobaya renowned for supplying water in Malindi, Kilifi and Mombasa towns will make a great stride in eradicating hunger in the region,” he said, adding that “feasibility study has indicated that the area has trillion liters of water that shall benefit residents.”
The water CS said that he would be back later this month with Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Mr Kazungu to distribute another 250 water pumps to residents for irrigation.
“We have realized that along River Galana-Sabaki there is a lot of agricultural potential that can feed the area to ensure food security and eradicate hunger affecting Ganze, Magarini and some parts of Tana River County,” he added.
He said that the government would also shift the focus to 10,000 acres at Kavunyalalo Irrigation Scheme in Kilifi County after it achieves to plant the 1.2 million acres Galana-Kulalu under irrigation.
Edited by Ronald Kibet
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