• Four greenhouses are being put up at Mutha and five in Vote village.
• Sukuma wiki, cabbage, spinach and tomatoes have so been found to do well in the area.
A Sh200 million irrigation project set up in two locations in Kitui South is almost complete.
The locations are Mutomo and Mutha, and the project is being set up by the National Irrigation Board.
The NIB has set up two model farms under the Thua Model Farm Project to train farmers on modern farming techniques that allow maximum produce using as little water as possible.
The project, which sits on 10 acres in the dry area, employs drip irrigation. Four greenhouses are being put up at Mutha and five in Vote village.
Sukuma wiki, cabbage, spinach and tomatoes have so far been found to do well in Kitui South.
Manager Raphael Mutiso said the project, which is almost 98 per cent complete, is solely funded by NIB.
“Its intention is to furnish farmers with sufficient understanding in crop husbandry and proper water utilisation, which would facilitate farming in the arid areas of Kitui South,” he said.
Mutiso said farmers are expected to pass the knowledge acquired to their counterparts.
The engineer said the irrigation board has roped in about 150 farmers from Vote sublocation and an almost similar number at Mutha location.
“We will not leave the farmers even after the contractor hands over the farm. We will do a follow up in order to assist farmers whenever they need help to ensure the continuity of the project,” Mutiso said.
Tomas Mbiti, the agricultural technical officer for the Thua Model Farm, said farmers at the Vote farm made Sh150,000 from a single harvest.
“The money is shared among the farmers and a small token kept for the running of the project,” he said.
Tomatoes have been doing well in the greenhouses, he said, urging farmers to plant them in plenty.
Vote farmer Benson Nyamai said since 2015, when NIB officers visited the area, they have thrived on the piece of land donated by residents.
He praised the project saying apart from giving them farm produce, it has provided enough water for domestic use.
Produce from the model farm is sold locally and in other markets, enhancing food security and providing job opportunities, the farmer said.
The project is expected to be self-sustainable once it is handed over to the community as farmers have undergone enough training on how to run it and apply skills learnt on their own farms.
Edited by R.Wamochie