The government has allocated Sh 500 million to various irrigation projects in Turkana county as part of its commitment to the realization of the big four agenda.
Speaking during a tour of irrigation schemes in the county Water, and Irrigation Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki who was accompanied by Ministry of Petroleum and Mining CS John Munyes and other officials from National Irrigation Authority on Tuesday said the funds will support four irrigation blocks in the county.
The blocks are Lokubae in Turkana East sub county, Katilu in Turkana south, Lotikipi in Turkana west and Naipa in Loima sub county.
The government has allocated Sh100 million to Katilu scheme, Sh92 million for Naipa scheme and the remaining funds shared between Lotikipi and Lokubae irrigation schemes.
In Turkana-South Sub county, the National Irrigation Authority has implemented Katilu Irrigation Scheme which has a potential of 10,000 acres and gets Irrigation water from river Turkwel.
Kariuki said 3,000 acres have been developed with expansion activities being undertaken progressively.
On Tuesday, the Cabinet secretary opened an additional 400 acres that would benefit 800 farmers at Katilu irrigation scheme.
“In the coming six months we will have opened an additional 1,500 acres brining an additional 3,000 farmers into this scheme. The total beneficiaries of the project have reached up to 6,000 farmers with more set to benefit from the ongoing expansions,” she said.
The crops grown in the scheme are mainly vegetables, green maize, sorghum, green grams and fruit such as watermelon, mangoes, pawpaws, passion fruits and bananas.
In Loima sub-County, the Authority is implementing Naipa Irrigation Project to support farming in the region. The project has a potential of providing water from Turkwel river to irrigate 3,000 acres which will be implemented in 3 phases.
The first phase which is currently underway and expected to be complete by March 2021 will see 1,000 acres put under Irrigation.
The project is expected to benefit over 2,000 farmers in every phase. Phase 2 and 3 will be done after completion of phase 1. The total potential of Naipa is over 5,000 acres.
The cabinet secretary noted that the area had witnessed insecurity in the past adding that farming has helped restore peace by providing the locals with an alternative source of livelihood.
She at the same time welcomed a request by Katilu MCA James Abei to organize exchange programme tours where farmers from the county will travel to areas like Nyahururu and Laikipia to gain exposure on agribusiness.
“The exchange program among our farmers is long overdue,” she said.
Kariuki also granted the farmers’ request to have an additional tractor to help them cultivate the land.
The National Irrigation Authority has been implementing Irrigation projects in Turkana with an aim of promoting food security in the region, creating employment and increasing cropping intensity and diversification for food security.
Speaking at the same event, Munyes said the national government is committed to improving the lives of the locals and asked the community to support the government.
“We would not be able to witness such development were it not for the support of President Kenyatta’s government,” said Munyes.
By Peter Gitonga