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Government plans to revive Hola Ginnery in Tana river

The government through the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation plans to revive the Hola Ginnery to assuage cotton farmers from having to transport their produce to the Makueni Ginnery.

Principal Secretary of the Water, Sanitation and irrigation ministry Joseph Irungu, said while launching a 34 Million water reservoir yesterday at Baomo, Galole Constituency.

BT cotton farm at the Tana Irrigation Scheme. Photo courtesy of NIA

The 200,000 m² Baomo Water Reservoir will be filled with water and thus irrigate all the farms in the Baomo area. The PS said the government will construct two more water reservoirs to ensure water is sufficient.

He assured farmers and local leaders that the ginnery will roar back to life since the National Irrigation Authority is in the process of reviving it.

“The ginnery will offer employment to Tana River youth, without a ginnery all businesses are transferred to another place, said PS Irungu.

PS added that his ministry is one of the enablers of food security and manufacturing pillars of the Big 4 agenda.

BT cotton is resistant to African Bollworm (Helicovera armigera) and has high yields compared to other types of cotton.

“BT Cotton is a new variety, a cotton farmer is able to rake Sh100,000 in profit from one-acre farm, less expenses are incurred thus farmers can be able to support their families,’’ noted the PS.

Tana Irrigation Scheme is the oldest scheme, it was started in 1953 with a gazette area of 12,000 acres. The scheme has a possible extension area of 12,000 acres.

PS Irungu Launches the 34M water reservoir. Photo by Sadik Hassan

The scheme collapsed in 1989 when the Tana River changed its course and was later revived by the government in 2009 in collaboration with Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).

“After a year Tana River will return to its former glory as one of the food baskets in Kenya,’’ PS said.

Chairman of cotton farmers Hamisi Kofa extolled the government’s efforts of improving their livelihood through provision of the BT cotton variety and water for irrigation. He said they are expecting to harvest in August between 2500 – 3000 Kilogrammes per acre of the BT cotton.

To save the cost of power the PS said the government has plans to start a water gravity project akin to the 7.5B ongoing gravity project in Nagini under the Bura Irrigation Scheme.

The main aim of the 7.5B Bura Irrigation Rehabilitation Project is to provide a gravity fed irrigation system which will enhance efficiency of irrigation water conveyance and increase area under irrigation.

The 26.2 Kilometers gravity project in Bura will have an intake from River Tana at Kora Kora for gravity water supply to the Bura Irrigation Scheme.

“The gravity fed irrigation system will lower the cost of supplying water to farms. The government of president Uhuru Kenyatta has taken care of the interests of the Tana River people. The government has allocated 7.5b for rehabilitation of the Bura Irrigation Scheme, 188 M for the Hola Irrigation scheme, Tana River is not left behind,” said the PS.

However, the PS appealed to Tana River leaders and the county government to support farmers since the national government is providing the necessary infrastructure and also to drill boreholes.

“The county government must assist us in managing the infrastructure, the problem with Tana River is the management of infrastructure put in place. The county government should offer agricultural extension services and marketing of the farm produce for the benefit of Tana River farmers,’’ said PS Irungu.

The PS was accompanied by local leaders led by Tana River Senator Hon. Juma Wario, Galole MP Said Posta and his Garsen counterpart Ali Wario.

By Sadik Hassan

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