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Irrigation board to construct Sh16b dam

BUSINESS
By Lee Mwiti | May 18th 2016

The National Irrigation Board (NIB) plans to build a Sh16 billion dam in Mwea. The dam will help farmers diversify from growing rice and embrace other crops that need irrigation.

Rice is a major cash crop in the region. The Mwea Irrigation Development Project Regional Co-ordinator, Julius Mutuaruchiu, confirmed the plans and said the project will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). JICA has promised to provide Sh10 billion while the Government intends to chip in with the remaining Sh6 billion. “The overall intention of this project is to help farmers here who, since independence, have relied on rice as their only crop, to diversify and eventually add the gains to the national food basket,” said Mr Mutuaruchiu.

The new dam is anticipated to generate enough water for irrigation and expand the existing Mwea Irrigation Scheme to 6,600 acres. It will further establish a reservoir that will have the ability to hold 15.6 million cubic metres of water.

The expanded irrigation project will enable farmers to plant crops twice a year.

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