FOOD SECURITY

Thiba Dam to increase rice acreage by 22,000

Completion of Thiba Dam by end of this year will see income to farmers be in the range of Sh.11 billion.

In Summary

• Construction of the dam will improve the production of rice from the current 26,000 acres to 48,000 acres

 • Thiba dam will have a capacity of 15 million cubic metres of water and is expected to fill in six months after completion

Thiba Dam is 52 per cent complete.
Thiba Dam is 52 per cent complete.
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU

The completion of the Sh19 billion Thiba dam in Kirinyaga will increase the farmers’ income from Sh8 to Sh12 billion as more acreage will come under rice farming.

Mwea Irrigation scheme manager Innocent Ariemba said the project is set to be completed by the end of the year.  

“Life in this part of Kenya will change, with farmers becoming better-off, wealth created in the region besides improving food security in the country,” he said

Ariemba spoke at Wanguru on Friday. He said the irrigation scheme is one of the largest out of the 70 in Kenya.

He said it supplies close to 80,000 tonnes of rice out of the 120,000 tonnes produced in Kenya.

Ariemba said more than 67 per cent of the rice consumed in Kenya comes from Mwea thus it is strategic in addressing the issue of food security in Kenya.

Workers on a rice farm in the Mwea irrigation scheme
FOOD SECURITY: Workers on a rice farm in the Mwea irrigation scheme
Image: /Courtesy

“Completion of the project will go a long way in ensuring that we have sufficient water throughout the year,” he said.

Ariemba said the construction of the dam will improve the production of rice from the current 26,000 acres to 48,000 acres.

The dam, Ariemba said, will have a capacity of 15 million cubic metres of water and is expected to fill in six months after completion.

 “One way of controlling climate change is to store water and use it during the dry period; this is why we are collaborating with the Ministry of Environment to impress upon them on the need to preserve the water towers,” he said.

He said the dam is one of the strongest pillars of the Jubilee government in ensuring food security and improving manufacturing.

“Through irrigated agriculture, we will be able to have more products for the manufacturing sector through value addition,” he said.

Rice farmers' representatives urged the government to replace old machinery at the National Irrigation Authority.

They said canals have remained unattended for long, reducing the flow of water to farms.

The association's chairperson Mutugi Mwangi said the roads in the scheme are also in a bad state and need continuous repairs.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya