Agency to revive lake region’s white elephant projects

Lake Basin Development Authority rice mills. the mill has been operating at less than five percent its capacity, forcing many rice farmers to sell their produce to Uganda merchants with ready cash. [Photo: Collins Oduor Standard]

The Lake Basin Development Authority regional managers have been asked to submit proposals aimed at reviving stalled projects and mooting viable ventures to attract fresh funding.

One of such white elephant is the Sh6 billion Oluch Kimira irrigation project in Karachuonyo sub-county that was abandoned despite its food production potential.

“These are just but some of the projects that we want to revive now and make them sustainable if we are to attain food security,” said LBDA new Managing Director Raymond Omollo.

The irrigation project was meant to support smallholder farmers growing maize, rice, vegetables and other horticultural crops in Karachuonyo and Rangwe sub-counties.

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Omollo (pictured) said a feasibility study conducted by LBDA 10 years ago shows the area has potential to produce hundreds of tonnes of the crops. Today, only a few farmers grow watermelon, potatoes, kales, rice and arrow roots.

The government recently injected Sh150 million to repair machinery at the authority and pay farmers for deliveries.

Omollo said the authority has modern rice milling machines with a through-put capacity of 25 tonnes per hour cleaning and drying and able to produce 24,000 tonnes a year.

The MD told all senior management employees to brace for fresh performance contracts and that all of them must show why they need to continue working for LBDA.

“We want each and every senior management employee, including regional managers, to prove their value at the Authority. So they must sign fresh contracts,” he said.

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Omollo told the employees that gone are the days when they reported to work and just idled in offices without doing any substantive work.

“Everyone will have to account for their presence here,” he said as he unveiled a new work plan for the authority.

In the past, LBDA used to be one of the authorities with great agriculture projects. It was famed for its mechanised agriculture in villages to boost food security. Most of these village projects collapsed or are performing poorly.

Karachuonyo MP Adipo Okuome asked the authority to revive all its viable projects to improve the livelihoods of the people.

“We are not happy a good project such as Oluch Kimira has not been put into productive use,” said Okuome. 

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Lake Basin Development AuthorityOluch Kimira irrigation projectRaymond OmolloAdipo Okuome