The quest to boost food security in Nyanza has received a boost after the National Irrigation Board (NIB) kicked off a Sh150 million initiative to reclaim land in the Kano plains.
Speaking in Ahero at the weekend, NIB General Manager Gitonga Mugambi told journalists that plans to improve rice production were in the final stages.
“We intend to expand the Ahero irrigation scheme. There is capacity to expand it to more than 3,000ha,” Mr Mugambi said.
The first phase of the project was launched last Friday, with Mugambi saying they were eyeing water from River Nyando to irrigate the new parcels.
The project will boost production in the rice-farming belt, which has faced multiple challenges over the years.
Mugambi said they planned to work on 1,000ha this financial year. “The design for the expansion is ready and we have already identified the lands we want to reclaim for expansion of rice farming."
Last week, excavators started digging water canals in Awasi/Onjiko ward. Mugambi said they had struck an agreement with residents that the community would not seek compensation for the recovered land.
Farmers have been producing about six tonnes of rice per hectare, but production is expected to increase significantly with the expansion drive.
Ward representative Maurice Ngeta said farmers would take advantage of the project and work hard to improve their living standards.
Interviews with farmers had shown that many of them were leasing out their rice paddies after failing to earn a living from the crop.
Mugambi urged the farmers to consider practising value addition to reap more from their harvest.
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