Farmers at Katilu Irrigation Scheme have identified farm invasion by Prosobis Juliflora, insecurity and lack of farming equipment as main challenges hindering food production in the more than 2000-acre irrigation in Katilu.
The farmers were speaking during a tour of the Chief Officer for Agriculture and Land Reclamation Janerose Tioko.
Tioko concurred with the farmers that insecurity had slowed down farming activities in a food basket area whose potential has not been fully optimized.
She promised that the Government will work with other food security stakeholders to uproot Prosobis as well as provide certified seeds to farmers.
The visit is part of the familiarization tour of the Chief to check on the department’s projects, assess the infrastructure as well as interact with farmers to identify gaps which need to be addressed.
She added that the government was committed to strengthen infrastructure of existing irrigation schemes and capacity building of farmers to increase food production and profitability through sale of farm produce.
“There is a need to collaborate efforts with the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) to increase acreage for land production and for farmers to diversify production to other crops like sorghum,” she said.
Early this year, Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said the county plans to spend at least Sh 600 million in mega drip irrigation projects to boost food security.
Governor Lomorukai highlighted the county’s recent spending of Sh600 million on procuring relief food adding that a similar amount invested in crop production would help the county become self-sufficient and reduce its dependence on external sources of food.
County Director for Agriculture Paul Lokone said the department was focused on achieving the Government agenda on food security through mechanized farming and enhanced extension by ward agricultural officers.
National Irrigation Authority Turkana Regional Coordinator Eng. Charles Shiundu committed to work with the County Government in enhancing production in Katilu and echoed CCO Janerose’s call for crop rotation.
Also present were Deputy Director for Administration David Longole, Sub County Irrigation Officer Oloo Omondi and Sub County Agriculture Officer Francis Emuto.
By Peter Gitonga