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Israel to train 600 Kenyans on irrigation

By Roselyne Obala | July 7th 2016

Israel will train 100 youths yearly for six years to enhance Kenya’s capacity to manage irrigation.

The training, which will focus on irrigation engineering, will equip trainees with skills to manage the Sh7.2 billion Galana/Kulalu Food Security Project — a joint initiative between Kenya and Israel.

It was among agreements President Uhuru Kenyatta signed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The training was initiated when President Kenyatta visited Tel Aviv in February, when the initial 25 trainees were taken.

Another 75 beneficiaries were selected during Netanyahu’s visit to Nairobi in a renewed partnership. They will leave for Israel in the coming weeks.

The idea is that Kenyans must be trained to take over management of the Galana project and others that will be initiated when the contract between the two countries expire in March next year.

It is expected that the project, being managed by the National Irrigation Board (NIB), will be replicated across the country.

While in Israel, they will be given first-hand experience in irrigation engineering and will be expected to replicate the same at home when they return. Local institutions of higher learning will also benefit from the skills when the trainees return.

The Israeli government has given Sh3.5 billion grant for the training that is part of the Galana project.

“The agreements we have signed will hep us build the capacities of our professionals. Our cooperation will enhance sustainability as we will get the right expertise,” said President Kenyatta.

Technical support

“Prime Minister Netanyahu and I also discussed the Galana project, which continues to benefit from technical support and financial investment from Israel,” the President added.

Initially, Israel has said it will increase the number of those it will train under the initiative from 30 to 45.

“Completion of this project remains critical to both our countries, and we will continue engaging to ensure its success and its sustainability,” Uhuru said.

Netanyahu said Kenya stood to benefit from the cooperation, Israel being an example of what technology can do in agriculture, water and irrigation.

NIB General Manager Mugambi Gitonga said 25 of the trainees will jet out next week and will be trained for three weeks.

“Another 50 leave for Israel next month for an 11-month course,” said Gitonga.

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the training will enhance local capacity to pilot the project in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas.

Wamalwa said increasing acreage under irrigation will help Kenya realise food security as the country cannot afford to rely on rain fed agriculture only.

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