The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has embarked on expansion of Ahero and West Kano Irrigation Schemes to boost rice and horticultural production in the country.
Under the program, an additional 10,700 acres will be put under irrigation at the two schemes bringing the total acreage to 18, 500.
Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary (PS) Joseph Irungu said the expansion will net more farmers to scale up production as envisioned in the national governments big four agenda pillar on food security.
The PS disclosed that his ministry has already spent Sh. 270 million to open up 7, 700 acres at West Kano Irrigation scheme which was adversely affected by the recent floods.
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In Ahero, the Kabong’o water supply, he said, will be up and running in a months’ time opening up 3, 000 more acres.
Irrigation, he said, was the mainstay for agriculture with a potential of 1.9 million acres across the country.
Ahero and West Kano schemes, he said, presented the best opportunity to increase total land under irrigation in the country given the availability of water and land in the area.
So far, he said only 500, 000 acres of land in the country was under irrigation adding that the ongoing programs target to boost the acreage to 700, 000 by the year 2022.
“What we are doing here today may appear small but it will help us to reach the target of 700, 000 by the year 2022,” he said.
In the Western Kenya region, he said an additional 37, 000 acres has been earmarked for irrigation by the year 2022.
He disclosed that the new projects will target Lower Nzoia and Lower Kuja which have a lot of irrigation potential.
Irungu made the remarks at Ahero Irrigation Scheme on Friday, where he toured the ongoing expansion works.
The PS also received 27, 000 bags of fertilizer worth Sh. 70 million, a donation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support rice farmers in the area.
The fertilizer amongst other interventions by the government, he said will boost rice production in the two schemes.
Nyando Member of Parliament (MP) Jared Okelo and his Muhoroni Counterpart Onyango K’oyoo lauded the expansion of the schemes saying it will help farmers in the area to enhance production.