Weiwei Integrated Development project has helped to enhance food security, alleviate poverty and hunger in West Pokot.
Speaking when he toured the Weiwei Integrated Development Project site at Weiwei Ward in Sigor Constituency, West Pokot County Commissioner (CC), Apollo Okello, was impressed with the farming activities in the farm and how the project plays a role of alleviating poverty, raises income and helps enhance food security in the region.
“The Weiwei Integrated Development Project at Sigor Constituency in West Pokot County, comprising 600 hectares under irrigation, is one of Kenya Vision 2030 flagship projects, that plays a role in the fighting against the root cause of hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the county and country at large,’’ West Pokot CC said.
He said the project is good for socio-economic development and has helped to open up the region that was once bedevilled with cattle rustling and banditry menace.
Okello underscored that the National Government in conjunction with the County Government will continue supporting farmers through harnessing available resources towards improving food security for residents.
He stated that farmers should be encouraged to venture into horticulture for it will enable them to fetch more income since they produce high demand in the market.
He further advised youth to engage in productive farming and ensure they benefit from the sector noting how agriculture is a vital source of income.
The site Technical Manager, Eng. Daniel Kimutai, said the project was conceived in 1986 where Kenya and Italy signed a bilateral cooperation protocol and since then the scheme has benefited many farmers through its irrigation projects.
“255 households’ farmers under Phase I and II of the project have been trained on modern farming techniques enabling them to earn more income for their farms and the same have helped create employment opportunities, improved health and education standards, and farmers have ready markets for seed produced in their farms,’’ he explained.
“The extension of 325 hectares developed under Phase III of the project will serve additional households,” he said.
“Through capacity building program, we train targeted famers and women entrepreneurs’ groups on tree nurseries for conservation and we have demonstration plots for training them on other farming activities to offer alternative livelihood to the pastoralist community,” Eng. Kimutai said.
Eng. Kimutai expressed concerns on rampant vandalism of hydrant, growth of bush on sections of farm area earlier developed, floods damage on major infrastructural works such as the intake and field drainage system and delay from the community leadership in concluding on plot allocation so as to pave way for farming activities in the farms under phase III extension.
The National Development Projects Committee led by the West Pokot County Commissioner, challenged the Weiwei Integrated Development Project Management, to ensure the contractor up their game, in a move to make residents enjoy government irrigation projects under Phase III of the extended farm.
West Pokot CC assured Weiwei Irrigation Scheme Management that the government has put measures to provide a safe and secure working environment for all investors and residents, and urged them to report emerging issues to relevant authorities for assistance when the need arises.
He added that government has put in place measures that foster peace and stability before, during and after the forthcoming general election and urged Kenyans to embrace peace and unity.
By Anthony Melly