The Tharaka Nithi Senator, Prof. Kithure Kindiki has called on beneficiaries of irrigation projects in the county to produce related crops during specific periods, to attract traders from major towns who wish to transport the produce to the respective markets.
“No trader will come from faraway markets like Nairobi and Mombasa if the produce cannot meet a certain economic threshold and hence the importance of agreeing on what crops to cultivate each season,” said the Senator.
Speaking while visiting a successful beneficiary of the Makanyanga Irrigation Project in Chuka-Igambang’ombe constituency on Saturday, Prof. Kindiki further disclosed, Tharaka Nithi leaders are lobbying for more funds from the government to establish a factory to add value to crops.
“Makanyanga, Kirumi kia Munjari and Rungu water projects in the county belong to the small scale irrigation and value addition project funded by the African Development Bank and hence processing need not be overemphasized,” said the senator.
He further called on the beneficiaries to desist from cultivating huge tracts of land and instead concentrate on smaller intensively monitored pieces, to avoid crop failure.
“We should also focus on fast maturing crops such as tomatoes, onions and cabbages rather than maize, millet and sorghum in our irrigated farms to maximize our yields and revenue,” advised Professor Kindiki.
He further disclosed that county leaders are lobbying for funds to improve feeder roads into the irrigated areas, construction of offices for the project management committee and a shed for sorting crop produce, before it is released into the market.
He said the three water projects are part of six national government irrigation projects countrywide, funded by the African Development Bank and had only managed to lobby for the major share for Tharaka Nithi County due to his position as the Leader of Majority in the united Jubilee Party back then.
Prof. Kindiki said there is need for the communities involved to own and nurture the irrigation projects because they are not only viable sources of income for the beneficiaries, but also the right course towards food security which is among President Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda.
The Senator said the time for engaging in politics is not yet ripe, adding that he is fully behind the president, despite him losing the position of Deputy Speaker in the senate.
By David Mutwiri