The third phase of a water project for irrigation in Tharaka Nithi County that is expected to promote agriculture in the currently semi-arid parts lower parts of Maara Sub-county is almost complete with over 70 percent of the work having been done by the end of June this year.
A site visit by the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) on Wednesday established that the project which is a continuation of Muringa-Banana Irrigation Development Project whose first two phases were commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta is on course and should be complete by the end of its two years construction period.
The national government project that is being supervised by the National Irrigation Board (NIB) is being constructed by Mutahi Engineering Services Ltd and is expected to double the irrigated area being served by the first two phases feeding 2, 907 farmers.
Speaking during a session with engineers from the construction company and the NIB shortly after the site visit, the Deputy Director in the President’s Delivery Unit who is the Secretary to the CDICC, Ms. Loice Shuma expressed optimism that the project would be completed within the construction period.
“If we all continue to play our roles as expected, many government projects should be completed in due course as proved by this project which will be a big boost to the President’s Big 4 Agenda which include food security to the Kenyan citizenship,” said Ms. Shuma.
Once complete, the project will promote agriculture as is already evident after the completion of the first two phases that has enabled irrigation of almost 3, 000 farmers on half acre pieces of land.
A farmer who is a beneficially of the second phase who was visited impromptu during the exercise, Elias Mutugi could not hide his excitement while explaining the enormous earnings he has made since he started irrigating his farm more than two years ago.
“The youth in this area have no reason to idle around and engage in illicit alcohol and drugs abuse since one can even plant bananas or arrowroots which do not require much labour,” explained Mutugi from Kiamukongoro Village in Kieru location.
Mutugi who is currently growing tomatoes, kales, some maize and nappier grass in part of his half acre piece of land intends to fill the remaining part of his piece of land with beetroots and cabbages.
“I made a lot of money from maize that I sold green to traders but with the new crops, I intend to penetrate the market further to maximize the returns I get from this piece of land,” he further explained as he proudly led the visitors around his farm.
The Maara Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Joseph M. Wambua appreciated the work of Mutugi and other hardworking youth who were taking advantage of the water project to empower themselves and undertook to take some idle youth to the farm with the aim of eradicating illicit brews and drug abuse in the area.
Other departments that took part in the site visit were Information, ICT and Education which later led the team to Iruma primary school to monitor the progress in the Digital Literacy Programme.
By David Mutwiri