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CS Linturi commissions Utangwa Irrigation Scheme

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi on Thursday commissioned the Utangwa Irrigation Scheme in Mbooni Subcounty, which was established at a cost of Sh106 million.

Linturi disclosed that 565 farmers have benefited from the Utangwa irrigation scheme after planting maize, tomatoes, french beans, onions, spinach, and cabbages that they sell to fend for themselves.

While calling upon the farmers to cooperate and work closely with the government, the CS said this will boost agricultural production in the country and help fight food insecurity.

“I want to appreciate the farmers who are served by this project for their good work of irrigating and utilising 100 acres of land. Those who planted French beans have made a profit of Sh6 million from their produce,” said Linturi while addressing farmers at Utangwa market.

The project was implemented under the Small Scale Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP), where Sh35 million was spent on feasibility studies and another Sh71 million was used to implement the project that was initiated in 2016.

Farmers have partnered with Lui Farm Limited to produce French beans, in addition to providing an avenue to market their farm produce in the area.

The farmers, through their youth leader Dan Mutetezi, asked the government to construct a cold room at Utangwa for storage of their green vegetables to curb exploitation by middlemen.

Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jr. said he will create more irrigation schemes in the county to increase food production and avoid dependence on food donations in the area.

“I will ensure that more irrigation schemes are established in the county. For instance, we have a new irrigation scheme at Kalawa which will cover 272 acres of land,” noted Mutula Jr.

In another development, the governor said that 3,228 farmers have been identified to benefit from sunflower seeds to grow on 3,542 acres in the county.

During the tour of the lower eastern region, the Agriculture CS also launched three dryers to benefit farmers in Makueni, Machakos, and Kitui counties to overcome post-harvest losses of maize that is destroyed by aflatoxin.

He also flagged off 1,700 bags of subsidised fertiliser that will be distributed to farmers in all 30 wards in the county.

Linturi also gave out 100,000 doses of vaccination to vaccinate animals, of which 50,000 were meant for Kitui and 25,000 doses each for Machakos and Makueni, respectively.

By Patrick Nyakundi and John Mutinda

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