The national government is working to put three million acres of land under irrigation farming by 2030.
Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary (CS) Alice Wahome has said that already, they are implementing several projects in different parts of the country to boost irrigation farming with the aim of achieving food security.
She said in the next five years, 1. 8 million acres will be put under irrigation adding that the projects are targeting small scale farmers.
The CS spoke when she launched three community irrigation projects in Murang’a County.
The projects launched included Nyanjigi in Kangema sub-county, Maragua ridge in Murang’a south and Boboti Kiamande in Kandara, which have cost the government a tune of almost Sh500, 000 million.
The projects are targeting to provide water for irrigation to more than 2,000 small-scale farmers.
She underscored the need to support irrigation farming saying the country currently has a shortage of more than 10 million bags of maize.
“For government to attain food security, there is a need to support irrigation farming. This will require partnership between the government, members of the community and private investors,” she added.
Wahome said the Ministry of Water would also drill boreholes to complement water sourced from rivers and dams.
She explained that the Nyanjigi water project in Kangema would support 500 farmers and her Ministry is working to provide funding to distribute the water to other 500 farmers.
“Nyanjigi project was supported by the community and the government. We have come in to provide infrastructure that leads to distribution of water to farmers’ farms,” she said.
“The project will support horticulture farming and it is estimated annually the beneficiaries will be able to make more than Sh100 million,” she added.
The CS further said they have started negotiations with private and international organizations to fund various irrigation projects.
“Galana-Kulalu will be changed for commercial irrigation and since the government has no required funding, we will invite international organizations to partner in supporting the projects,” she added.
Meanwhile, the CS called upon farmers to form groups and start irrigation projects saying it would be easy for the government to support the community-based projects with needed infrastructure like pipes.
Murang’a Governor Irungu Kang’ata said his administration would support the projects initiated by the national government by ensuring they are well maintained.
“Water is very vital in attaining food security and as Murang’a county government, we will maintain projects,” he added.
Kangema MP Peter Kihungi lauded Nyanjigi project saying it has ensured locals have continuous food supply.
“Farmers can’t rely only on rain-fed farming. This region has experienced drought for a long time and with such irrigation schemes, food security will get a big boost,” added Kihungi.
By Bernard Munyao