By Paul Mutua
Speaking during a tour of the 5,000-acre project, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said that with the new project economic evolution is expected to be achieved faster.
Kalonzo said the scheme would expand tenfold as local farmers had offered additional 100,000 acres of land.
“This irrigation project will mark the transition from arid zone to green belt. The Government is to spend Sh3 billion in the next three years to irrigate additional 95,000 acres to eliminate the dependence on unreliable rain for agriculture,” the VP said.
Agriculture PS Dr Romano Kiome accompanied Kalonzo during the tour.
The Mwingi North MP said the project would be implemented in phases. He said Sh300 million would be used in the first phase to water from River Tana to the scheme.
The VP added that Unibee Construction Limited Company had been allocated Sh120 million to build a pump house, erect live fencing and supply of electricity.
“The region has the potential of feeding the whole region when it is utilised to its full scale. The Government is ready to irrigate the area so that the residents get enough food not only for their consumption but also export to other areas,” the vice-president added.
He explained that the project was within the Vision 2030 goals of expanding the area under irrigation and the first phase will see 1,500 households irrigate 500 acres out of the proposed 8,000 acres.
The VP said besides the irrigation works, the Government is also constructing a Sh50 million airstrip in the area to position the scheme as an attractive agricultural investment zone.