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NIA inches closer to getting Sh600 million for Galana/Kulalu project

The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) will in the next fortnight know whether its request for Sh600 million government funding to complete phase one of the Galana/Kulalu Food Security Project will be approved.

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said Wednesday that discussions on the request made by the authority were on going, but hinted that the authority could get the funds when there was satisfaction on being the work done.

Addressing journalists after an intensive inspection tour of the project domiciled in Kilifi and Tana River Counties, Kariuki said it was logical that the materials already invested are put into use through additional funding.

“It is only logical that the materials we have already invested and are in situ are put to use by making sure that they go into the investment that was anticipated and therefore, in another two weeks or thereabout, a collective decision by government will have been made and communicated,” she said.

Kariuki’s tour follows another one made by the National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) chaired by Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho about two months ago after the NIA made the request for additional funding.

It also follows another one by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya last Friday during which he also expressed satisfaction with the project that was initially being implemented by Green Arava or Israel before it was taken over by the NIA following contractual disagreements.

Agriculture and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki inspects a kale (sukuma wiki) demonstration farm within the Galana Kulalu Food Security Project on Wednesday August 25, 2020. Photo by Emmanuel Masha.

Kariuki was accompanied by Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu, NIA Chief Executive Officer Gitonga Mugambi and other senior officers from the ministry. They inspected the installed irrigation infrastructure and cropping activities on the model farm.

“Part of my being here today is to validate the request which the Principal Secretaries and the committee have already put together and made recommendations for the additional investment to be made in this project,” Kariuki said.

She said once phase one of the project, which is being implemented on a 10,000-acre model farm, is completed, it would be handed over to private investors with the technical knowhow to fully utilize the land for optimal production.

She said communities surrounding the project would also be capacity-built so they can also benefit from the technical knowhow to apply in their farms, even as the government considers commercialization of the farm through private investors.

“As a matter of fact, this phase of the model farm will come also with capacity building for the communities surrounding this project for them to also own and be part of this but importantly to also equip them with farming skills so that they can also apply the same in their farms,” she said.

On the 10th anniversary since the promulgation of the Kenya Constitution 2010, Kariuki said the Ministry of Water and Irrigation had seen tremendous growth in terms of budgetary allocation, which she said had doubled from Sh40 billion annually to Sh80 billion annually.

This, she said, had made the ministry implement various projects that had seen it make water available to many Kenyans.

By Emmanuel Masha

 

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