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Multi-billion gravity project to be completed in April

Bura Irrigation and Settlement Scheme Rehabilitation Project that will convert the Bura Irrigation Scheme from a pumped system to a gravity-fed system drastically, reducing the cost of operations is set to be completed by April.

The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has placed the Sh7 billion food security project which has taken 10 years since its inception under the 100 days Rapid Result Initiative (RRI).

The NIA Chief Operations Officer Joel Tanui, revealed that the contractor is at 90 percent in terms of work done in the system, assuring that in the next three months, by April, the project will be completed.

“It is one of the programmes that we have put under RRI, We have been able to address the challenges that the projects had in terms of contractual arrangements with the contractor who is on-site. We have agreed that by April the contractor should have been able to hand over the project so that it can benefit Bura Irrigation farmers,’’ said NIA Chief Operations Officer.”

Speaking during a field visit to Tana Irrigation Scheme. Tanui involves the rehabilitation of irrigation works, provision of equipment, extension, and credit to allow reliable irrigation of extra 15000 acres. The area under irrigation will increase to 25,000 acres from the current 12,000 acres.

The gravity project would ensure the availability of irrigation water by abstraction of 11 cubic meters per second of irrigation water throughout the year as opposed to the current 2.7 cubic meters per second through pumping.

He said the Authority is moving to cheaper technology, for instance, at the Tana Irrigation Scheme NIA is planning to install solar system to cut down on diesel expenditure, hence bringing down the cost of operations from over Sh50m per year.

To utilise ground and surface water for irrigation, the National Irrigation Authority is conducting ground exploration in ASAL counties.

The Chief Operating Officer, said NIA has aligned its strategies to the Kenya Kwanza manifesto of the economic transformation agenda, by guaranteeing food security and nutrition for every Kenyan.

“As an authority we have a lot of work to do,  first  to increasing the acreage under irrigation in this country and our major responsibility is to ensure that farmers are producing enough maize and rice to feed Kenyans,’’ said the NIA Chief Operating Officer.

This year, NIA targets to expand the area under rice irrigation by 20000 acres from the current 200,000 acres in the country.

He divulged that NIA has a five-year plan to add 100,000 acres for rice production to bridge the country’s rice production deficit.

By Sadik Hassan

 

 

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