The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) requires about Sh700 million to complete Phase One of the Galana-Kulalu food security project, A State committee has said.
The National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) said it would recommend that the Treasury releases the funds for the completion of that phase before the entire project is handed over to the private sector for full implementation.
According to committee chairman Karanja Kibicho, the first phase has already put into use 5,200 acres. Speaking in Kilifi last week, Kibicho said the committee was impressed with the advancement of the project so far.
“We are aware that the core mandate of NIA is not to practice agriculture. They have just taken effort to demonstrate, using this farm, that this is a viable project. They have even been able to calculate the cost of production and the expected outcome,” Kibicho said.
NIA took over the project from Green Arava, a contractor from Israel, following contractual disagreements which led to the Israeli firm leaving the site.
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Kibicho declined to discuss the disagreements that led to the termination of the Israeli firm's contract. “We have not come here to evaluate the contractor. All I know is that we will not have him on board," he said. "We have come to evaluate the suitability of the project."
He said NDITC would leave the matter of contractual obligations to the State Department of Water. According to NIA, the project is utilising the installed irrigation infrastructure comprising 20 centre pivots covering 3,300 acres, while 1,800 acres are under drip irrigation for the production of maize and other high value crops.