FOOD SECURITY, JOBS

State gives Sh500m for Turkana irrigation

Pastoralists encouraged to try farming to diversify livelihoods, increase production, raise incomes

In Summary
  • Irrigation schemes funded by state in Katilu in Turkana South, Naipa in Loima, Lotubae in Turkana East and Lotekipi in Turkana West subcounties.
  • Crops mainly vegetables, green maize, sorghum, green grams, watermelon, mangoes, pawpaw, passion fruit and bananas. 
Chief engineer for the National Irrigation Authority, Charles Muasya takes CSs for Water and Irrigation Sicily Kariuki and Petroleum and Mining John Munyes through chart of irrigation project in Turkana on Tuesday, October 13.
IRRIGATION: Chief engineer for the National Irrigation Authority, Charles Muasya takes CSs for Water and Irrigation Sicily Kariuki and Petroleum and Mining John Munyes through chart of irrigation project in Turkana on Tuesday, October 13.
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

The national government has set aside Sh500 million for irrigation in Turkana to improve food security, create jobs and improve livelihoods.

Speaking while inspecting irrigation projects, CS for Water and Irrigation Sicily Kariuki said on Tuesday the projects will increase incomes and expand food production.

She was accompanied by CS for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes and officials from the National Irrigation Authority.

Kariuki said the state had aside about Sh500 for irrigation activities as part of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four, which includes food security.

The projects are in Katilu in Turkana South, Naipa in Loima, Lotubae in Turkana East and Lotekipi in Turkana West subcounties.

She said the Naipa project costs Sh90 million, Katilu Sh100 million and the balance covers the other schemes.

The CS said the Naipa scheme in Loima involves opening a seven to 10 kilometre lined canal for 1,000 acres. At least 2,000 farmers will benefit she said while touring the area.

She said 1,000 acres will be expanded to 5,000 acres in phase two to serve all residents.

Since most residents are pastoralists, they will be given training in farming and given seedlings to encourage them to diversify their livelihoods and venture into agribusiness. 

“We encourage crop farming and we will intensify sensitisation and capacity building of farmers who have already formed associations," the CS said.

The National Irrigation Authority has been implementing projects in Turkana to increase food production, diversity crops and create jobs.

Chief engineer for the authority Charles Muasya said the project started in August and by next year it will be completed for growing maize, sorghum and  other horticultural crops.

In Turkana South, Kariuki said the Katilu scheme has a potential of irrigating 10,000 acres, benefitting 6,000 farmers. It gets water from River Turkwel.

Three thousand acres have been developed and expansion will be undertaken progressively.

The crops grown are mainly vegetables, green maize, sorghum, green grams, watermelon, mangoes, pawpaws, passion fruit and bananas.

Solomon Ejore, chairman of farmers association in Naipa, said the schemes will help them plant more crops for food security and reduce high dependence on relief food.

(Edited by V. Graham)