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Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme to see first planting this month

By Nicholas Waitathu | February 2nd 2015

Initial planting of maize in the one-million-acre Galana/Kulalu irrigation scheme is set to begin this month, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei has said.

Koskei said the Government intends to start maize planting before the end of February so that the first harvest can be done by end of May. He said the Jubilee Government's flagship project will assist in boosting food security in the country with more than 40 million bags of maize.

The Jubilee Government under its manifesto targets to put one million acres under irrigation by 2017 in Galana/Kulalu ranch which is located in the Kilifi and Tana River counties.

"We are currently producing slightly above 40 million bags of maize in the country and the Galana project, once completed, will double maize production to more than 80 million bags annually. This way we will boost the country's food basket, lower food prices, and increase food exports," he said in an interview.

He dismissed media reports that the Galana/Kulalu irrigation project has run out of water and was therefore a "white elephant."

He stated that the project is on course as per the consultancy prescriptions. He said the project is being undertaken in phases with the first stage comprising development of a 10,000-acre model farm, development of 200,000 acre pilot farm and one mega dam in phase two, and Phase three will see the implementation of the remaining recommended enterprises.

Model farm

The Government last year signed a Sh14.5 billion deal between the National Irrigation Board (NIB) and Green Arava (GA), an Israel fresh produce export company in Nairobi. The deal would fast-track the setting up of a 10,000-acre model farm to serve as a demonstration unit of the project's opportunities and achievements.

In an earlier interview NIB General Manager Daniel Barasa observed that key achievements have been registered since the mega project commenced last year.

These include 200km bush clearing, grading of 150km graded and 87km murram. Others are the rehabilitation of Danisa and Galana River Lodge airstrips and the rehabilitation of 33 water pans of which 19 are complete, with a capacity ranging from 15,000 to 120,000 cubic metres each.

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