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Coast residents asked to support food security project

The Parliamentary departmental committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has asked residents and leaders of Kilifi and Tana River counties to stop squabbling over the ownership of the multi-billion Galana /Kulalu Food Security Project (GKFSP).

The committee said that the project was a government flagship venture that would benefit all the people in the country.

Speaking during a site visit by the committee at the Shorwa Camp located within the massive two million acre farming project in Malindi Sub-County, the committee led by the chairperson Adan Mohamed Nooru, said there was need to support the project.

Nooru clarified that the land upon which the project was set belongs to the government and had been leased to the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), a government body which in turn leased it out to the National Irrigation Board. Some residents of Tana River County claimed they had been denied employment opportunities at the expense of their counterparts from Kilifi County.

The feud was provoked by Ali Wario, spokesperson for the Tana River County Government after he said that the land on which the project is situated, is part of the Galana Ranch, which belongs to the county.

He said the people of Tana River had not benefited in any way from the venture and accused the police of harassing herders by detaining their livestock if found grazing on the ranch.

Daudi Gardesa, MCA for Hirimani and Chairperson of the Committee of land, Agriculture and Fisheries in the Tana River County Assembly questioned the rationale of the public-private partnership agreement that allowed cultivation of the land, saying outsiders from the two counties had started positioning themselves to acquire the land.

“We know that 75 per cent of this project is in Tana River while 25 per cent is in Kilifi, yet there are reports that 60 per cent of the project is in Kilifi and only 40 per cent is in Tana River. Why are our people not benefitting from the jobs being created?” Posed Gardesa.

The County Government of Kilifi through its representatives, expressed concern about the lack of information and consultation on the status of progress of the project

The committee is expected to finalise its report on the status of the Food Security Project next week when it resumes its sitting in Nairobi.

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