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Land set aside for Sh12b dam to boost irrigation scheme

By - | April 5th 2013

By Munene Kamau

KENYA: At least 542 acres of land have been earmarked for construction of a mega water dam at Rukenya village, Kirinyaga County for use in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme.

All 621 households affected by the Sh12 billion dam’s construction will be compensated before relocation within the county.

Sh3.5 billion will go to the affected families, including Kaboyo Coffee Factory, according to National Irrigation Board’s Settlement Officer Julius M’Ruchiu.

Mr M’Ruchiu said compensation payments are ongoing and once the process is complete, the families will have a three-month grace period to vacate.

“We are moving with speed and soon each of the affected 621 households will be adequately compensated and our hope is they will be able to vacate from the dam site within three months after receiving payments to enable us start construction work,” M’Ruchiu said.

He said the compensation packages are favourable, noting the concerned parties reached an amicable agreement after their land parcels and property were valued by a Government valuer.

The affected families have been practising mixed farming, including coffee, bananas, horticulture and dairy farming while the area has been highly productive for subsistence farming.

The officer also indicated most families would be settled on Government land at Gathigiriri village in Mwea.

Others will be settled on another Government land within the Animal Health and Industry Training Institute in Ndomba, also in Mwea.

He said the Cabinet had proposed construction of the dam as a Vision 2030 project.

Food secure

The settlement officer said irrigation would be expanded by 22,000 more acres of land within Kandongu and Mutithi sections of the scheme.

“Once we expand the irrigable land for rice farming, the scheme will double its production in line with making Kenya food secure,” he said.

Currently, the scheme produces 70 per cent of rice in the country, which is still not enough to feed the nation.

The officer said the scheme would also produce rice twice every year, since it will no longer be rain dependent. The dam is being built with funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and is expected to improve farmers’ living standards.

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