- Lower Nzoia Irrigation Project cuts across Siaya and Busia counties
- Project awarded to Sinohydro Company started in June last year
The government has allocated Sh7 billion for irrigation and flood mitigation in Siaya and Busia counties.
The Lower Nzoia Irrigation Project whose progress stands at 12.1 per cent cuts across Siaya and Busia counties. It covers Ugunja, Alego Usonga and Budalang'i constituencies.
The project awarded to Sinohydro Company started in June last year is expected to be complete in 2021.
The cash will be used to complete the irrigation project, waterways, construction of 100 km canals to control the flow of water and construction of 34km dykes on both sides of River Nzoia for flood mitigation.
While launching the project in Bunyala on Friday, Deputy President William Ruto said the project will boost food production in the area.
The National Irrigation Board will handle the irrigation project at a cost of Sh3.8 billion while flood mitigation will be done by the Water and Harvesting Authority at a cost of Sh1.7 billion, both funded by World Bank.
The land compensation is funded by the national government at a cost of Sh1.7 billion.
The projects will benefit more than 12,000 households directly.
Under the irrigation scheme, rice acreage will be expanded from 2,000 to 10,000 while crops such as fruits, vegetables, soybeans and maize will be grown on a rotational basis.
Ruto promised that the government will build a Sh10 billion rice mill in Busia for the farmers.
According to the NIB, close to 20,000 acres will be put under irrigation in Siaya and Busia counties along the lower part of Nzoia river.
NIB General Manager Gitonga Mugambi said the project is aimed at boosting rice production and preventing destructive floods.
Upon completion of the project, farmers will generate an estimated Sh4.8 billion annually. More than 70,000 people will be protected from floods and create thousands of jobs, Gitonga said.
The project, he said, will reduce the impact of the perennial flooding in the lower Nzoia between Rwamba and Lake Victoria.
Budalang’i is one of the areas frequently hit by floods. The annual flooding occurs when river Nzoia bursts its banks, submerging dykes. This leads to loss of life and property.
In Busia, the project will help Bunyala irrigation scheme change from the pump-fed system irrigation to a gravity-fed system. It will also open up more land under irrigation.
In phase one, a total of 10,000 acres will be put under irrigation. About 25,000 people will benefit directly.
Farmers will have 5,000 acres under rice farming and 5,000 acres of high-value horticultural crops such as vegetables, bananas and watermelons on a rotational basis
Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said Sh450 million has been allocated for compensation of those who will be affected. The total parcels for compensation are 2,807 acres with an estimated value of Sh1.7 billion.
So far Sh169, 703, 415 million has been disbursed for 214 parcels according to NIB, with 2,593 pending due to delays by the National Land Commission.
The delay, the NIB said, will lead to additional cost of the project due to claims from the contractor.
A total of Sh1.18 billion has been given to the contractor. The payment for works done so far stands at Sh 255,302,215 million.