In a bid to boost food security, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has constructed 642 water pans worth Sh137.4 million in Limuru and Kikuyu sub-counties of Kiambu County.
Eng. Loice Kahiga, the Irrigation manager at NIA says the cumulative water storage constructed is 1,006.415 cubic meters which can irrigate about 800 acres through supplementary irrigation.
She said Nachu in Kikuyu had benefited from 189 water pans at a cost of Sh39 million while Mirithu in Ndeiya ward of Limuru had benefitted from 99 pans worth Sh19.9million Ndeiya in Limuru had benefitted from 276 water pans at a cost of Sh58.7 million while Ndeiya in Kikuyu had benefitted from 78 water pans at a cost of Sh19.8 million.
Additionally, NIA has planned to construct water pans for a cumulative volume of 260,000 cubic meters in the 2019/2020 and also rehabilitate existing water pans to a maximum volume of 100,000 cubic meters which are expected to benefit Lari and Githunguri sub-county residents respectively. This will bring an additional 300 acres under supplementary irrigation
All these efforts are geared towards enabling supplementary irrigation, once implemented as farmers who will have been lucky to have the pans in their farms will engage in production of food crops through irrigation, both for domestic consumption and also for sale.
Eng. Kahiga while briefing the Kiambu County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) at the County commissioner’s office Saturday said there was need for the team to visit Yatta settlement scheme in Machakos and benchmark on best practices of using water pans.
Farmers in Yatta, she said were properly utilizing the water and as such they were growing numerous food crops, which was being consumed locally and also exporting some, thus drawing an income that enabled them to remain afloat economically.
Kahiga said the expected impacts of the construction projects would increase food production especially horticulture across the county, through small scale irrigation practices alongside creation of employment opportunities whereby 1 acre will create 5 direct jobs and 3 indirect jobs.
It will also reduce rural urban migration by the youth in search of jobs and it will also increase the annual contribution to GDP.
Following the meeting, Kiambu County CDICC will tomorrow visit Yatta to benchmark on agricultural advancement by the farmers.
The chairman of the CDICC Mr. Wilson Wanyanga who is also Kiambu County commissioner who is expected to lead the delegation said farmers from Kiambu especially from the arid areas should form a larger section of the entourage. “We need to turn around those areas that have not been exhausted for years and grow food using the water. The government is investing so much money in construction of the water pans which should in turn be usable to many people in the community,” said Wanyanga.
Food security is one of the big 4 agendas of President Uhuru.
By Lydia Shiroya