Ruto: State to build 120,000 water pans before year ends

DP Ruto at Kakamega's Bukura Agricultural College 23rd Graduation. [DPPS]

The Government is in the process of constructing 120,000 water pans (small dams) for households in the country, Deputy President William Ruto has said.

The DP said the programme is aimed at transforming Kenya from reliance on rain-fed agriculture to irrigation-based to help increase food production.

Dr Ruto spoke yesterday during the 23rd Bukura Agricultural College graduation in Kakamega County.

He said the water would be used for irrigation during dry seasons and that so far, 8,000 such pans have been built with a capacity of 1,000 cubic metres each

He said over reliance on rain-fed agriculture has not been beneficial due to unpredictable weather patterns, adding that with the erection of water pans, small holder farmers can be able to grow crops that mature faster and save the country from hunger and starvation.

“Already, we have built 8,000 out of the 120,000 water pans across the country and we envisage that by the end of the year, we will have built all of them,” said Mr Ruto.

According to the Deputy President, the move is aimed at converting more arid and semi-arid land into agriculture saying only 20 per cent of the total land in Kenya I under agriculture.

“Agriculture accounts for 27 per cent of the country’s GDP and 60 per cent of labour force is in agriculture and related sub sectors. We want to increase food production to 35 per cent from 20 per cent and make Kenya food secure,” said Ruto.

According to a recent report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, over-dependence on rain, which was insufficient last year, led to a loss of 2.4 million bags of maize, the staple food in the country.