Kieni farmers set to benefit from Sh600m irrigation project

The programme will support smaller projects under the Kenya Small Scale Irrigation and Value Addition Project. 

Farmers in Kieni constituency are set to gain from an irrigation project worth Sh600 million.

The Nyeri County government has already approved Sh134 million from the current financial year's budget for the project that will help more than 7,000 families.

The programme will support smaller projects under the Kenya Small Scale Irrigation and Value Addition Project. The programme focuses on 11 counties in arid and semi-arid areas - Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Tana River, Bomet, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua, Murang'a, Kajiado and Nyeri counties.

The project, which is part of a Sh6.3 billion deal between the Council of Governors and the national government, is expected to take six years to complete. The rest of the money will be released in subsequent years.

Heavy losses

In Nyeri, the Aguthi Ndiriti Irrigation Project will benefit 7,382 people, and another 11,324 indirectly. Agriculture Executive Robert Thuo said farmers had made heavy losses after their crops failed due to limited water supply as a result of dry weather.

"In most cases, this happens at a critical stage in the growth of crops," said Mr Thuo, adding that local farmers relied on overhead irrigation, especially for crops for local consumption.

Most farmers grow horticultural crops such as Irish potatoes, cabbages, garden peas, carrots, kale, spinach, capsicums, tomatoes and bulb onions. A few others grow summer flowers, snow peas, snap peas and courgettes for the export market.

"This project will also increase water storage capacities by rehabilitating Kamburaini dam and promote 500 water pans in households," said Thuo.

"Ndiriti Kieni Dairy Co-operative Society farmers will also have an additional milk cooler."

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