Food security: Plans on to expand Mwea irrigation scheme

A map of the irrigation scheme and the targeted areas of expansion. [Jacinta Mutura, Standard]
Hundreds of farmers in Kirinyaga County who are not incorporated in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme are set to benefit from its planned expansion.

Water PS Joseph Irungu yesterday said the scheme will be expanded to 30,000 acres from the current 26,000.

Mr Irungu said out of the 30,350 acres of the gazetted land scheme, only 26,000 acres is under irrigation.

Mwea Irrigation Scheme is the biggest in the country, with the PS saying Kirinyaga County contributes the highest amount of rice.

Currently, the scheme incorporates 7,000 rice farmers from Kirinyaga.

“This scheme is so critical in terms of food security that we intend to cover the entire land so as to double the production,” said Irungu.

Irungu was speaking when he visited the scheme after the National Irrigation Board (NIB) was moved from the Ministry of Agriculture to that of Water and Irrigation.

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He was accompanied by NIB General Manager Gitonga Mugambi, leaders from Kirinyaga County and representatives of the irrigation scheme.

The areas targeted for expansion include Kianugu, Kiamanyeki, Ndekia and Mutithi where individual farms will be registered in to the scheme.

However, construction of Thiba Dam, which will be majorly relied on for irrigation of the scheme could affect the its expansion due to delays caused by lack of payments.

Irungu said the contractor halted the construction of the Sh8.2 billion dam after the National Treasury failed to pay some money as required in the contract agreement. 

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Mwea Irrigation SchemeKirinyaga CountyFood security