The government through the Ministry of Agriculture has handed over 16 project sites to contractors for phase two of the Small Irrigation and Value Addition Projects (SIVAP) in Tana River County.
The project is implemented by the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research in 11 counties, namely Tana River, Makueni, Kajiado, Machakos, Bomet, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kitui and Murang’a.
SIVAP aims at reducing poverty by enhancing agricultural productivity, income, and food security in the counties. Most of the counties are semi-arid and receive low to moderate rainfall.
The project aims to enhance irrigation infrastructure, and water resource development and improve agricultural market access through the construction of roads in the communities.
SIVAP is jointly funded by a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB), a grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), and the Government of Kenya.
The project worth Sh300M will involve the construction of three water pans in Mkomani, Nkozi, and Mpongwe villages. Drilling and equipping of eight boreholes, fencing, and reseeding of pasture grounds in Chifiri and Hakoka.
Engineer Omari Josphat, SIVAP Project Manager said, through the project marketing/grading shades in Makere, a livestock sale yard in Madogo, and 27 kilometers of farm access roads will be constructed.
“This is the second round we are doing the projects, the first time we handed over 15 sites to contractors who are at various stages of implementation. Most of them are at 90 percent almost handing over to the communities,” said Engineer Omari thanking the communities for supporting the projects.
“The sites we are handing over today will cost Sh300 Million. We will remain with another phase of survey and design where we are expecting to have another equivalent of structures making a total investment of Sh500 – 600M in Tana River”.
The water pans are expected to benefit more than 600 households and 11,000 livestock. The beneficiaries will also increase food production through irrigation farming.
“For SIVAP in Tana River, we are considering the climate and culture of the communities. We are implementing small structures that can be used for irrigation depending on the yields from the shallow wells.
Kenya is now facing climate change. We must seek new technologies to support our farmers who are the backbone of our economy. The President announced fertilizer subsidy and farmers are expected to use the water to increase yields,’’ said the Project Manager.
The community thanked the government for the projects saying the ravaging drought and lack of floods have exacerbated their sufferings. “We will do modern agriculture to improve our lives. We have set aside between 100 to 150 acres for cultivation once the borehole is ready,’’ said Juma Hiribae, a farmer.
By Sadik Hassan