The PS for Water and Irrigation, Mr. Joseph Irungu (Center )accompanied by the CEC Agriculture Mr. Gilchrist Okuom ( second right ) and Senior representative of JICA – Kenya, Mr. Tomoyuki Yasuda ( Right )during an inspection mission on the ongoing Irrigation expansion works in Nyando. ( picture by Jacob Owiti)
By Emily Mikwa
Kisumu will soon become food secure after the completion of irrigation expansion works that are ongoing in Nyando sub county.
The expansion works is expected to cover a total 7,700 acres to up scale the production of rice and horticultural crops in the region.
This was stated yesterday by the PS for Water and Irrigation, Mr. Joseph Irungu who led a delegation from his ministry accompanied by Senior representative of JICA – Kenya, Mr. Tomoyuki Yasuda and the CEC Agriculture Mr. Gilchrist Okuom during an inspection mission on the ongoing Irrigation expansion works in Nyando.
“Irrigation is the pillar of agriculture which is part of the big four agenda of the government and thus why we are tapping from the existing water sources to ensure Kisumu is food sufficient” said the Principle Secretary.
Currently, the West Kano inlet pump station with a capacity of 2,250 lps serves 780 households, 2200 farm holders and 20,000 farmers who grow rice , horticulture, sorghum, Soya and green grams. While Kabong’o Irrigation expansion whose source is river Nyando will cost 2B and it is targeted to benefit 100,000 households once completed in a month’s time.
The two Irrigation schemes rely on pumping, incurring hefty electricity bill. The PS said the ultimate plan is upon the completion of Koru – Soin Dam, the irrigation schemes will be supplied with water through gravity considering the great potentials of Nyando and Muhoroni in food production.
The Dam will also mitigate the perennial floods that affect farmers.
The mission also saw the PS commission West Kano Community borehole to provide clean and safe water for 800 households whose water sources were contaminated due to back flow of the lake and floods.
The borehole is designed to pump 5m3/hour, fitted with 3No. water kiosks and reticulation of 2km.
According to Water Secretary, Eng. Samuel Alima , the Afd bank has funded 20 boreholes to a tune of 7.5Billion to be drilled in Kisumu to provide residents with clean safe water for domestic use, this will make Kisumu a water secure county.
The Senior representative of JICA Kenya Mr. Yasuda handed over 27, 832 bags of planting and top dressing fertilisers to the rice farmers who were affected by the back flow of the lake and floods to bring them back to production.
He also affirmed enjoying good working relations with Kenyan government especially in promoting agriculture and infrastructure to ensure food security in the country.
The CEC Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom thanked the Ministry of Water and Irrigation for their continued support through the National Irrigation Authority (NIA). He also thanked the JICA for their timely support of bringing back farmers to production.
He also stated that plans are in place by the county to purchase a mill to upscale the milling process.
According to the Chairman National Irrigation Authority Eng. Joshua Toro, the expansion of rice growing areas is key and that county to ensure farmers form cooperatives to market their produce.
The MP for Muhoroni Hon. James Onyango Koyoo, and his Nyando counterpart , Hon. Jared Okello, thanked the PS for honouring his promise to expand the Irrigation stations but also requested the NIA to consider grading the roads connecting the rice schemes to ease transportation of the produce out of the farm. They also requested NIA to fast track the purchase of the outlet pump that can match the capacity of the inlet pump to avoid flooding of the rice schemes.
The rice store in NIA premise is stocked with rice worth 120Million due to lack of a ready market, Hon. Jared Okello called on the county to work closely with National Trading Cooperation to help farmers sell their produce .