KVDA to complete Sh1b Wei Wei irrigation scheme

Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) has announced plans to complete the Sh1 billion Wei Wei irrigation scheme to boost food security in the region.

The 325 hectares project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016 and funded by the Italian Development Cooperation. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic and bad climatic conditions, the project stalled.

Weiwei irrigation scheme was started in 1984 by the Italian Government after drought hit Kenya. Principal secretary Regional Development Belio Kipsang said that the project is now on course after it experienced disruption due to Covid-19 pandemic and bad climatic conditions.

“Having started with the pilot project so many years ago, the project has progressed well. Phase Three had few challenges, but were able to surmount the challenges,” he said.

He said phase three has now officially started, and the project will serve the entire North Rift region. The PS noted that the project has made an impact in the region, adding that it is one of Big Four projects on food security.

“It has made a huge difference. There is a shelling facility at Weiwei, and we are also doing value addition of produce. We have nurseries for mangoes, citrus fruits and avocado. The project is one of the key projects,” he said.

Speaking during the stakeholders' meeting at Aturkan Hotel in Kitale, Dr Kipsang said that phase one and two are already putting money in farmers’ pockets.

“As we start phase three, the production will more than double. Farmers are currently generating Sh75 million shillings annually. They also deliver 1,500 tonnes of seeds to Kenya Seed Company. Farmers are looking to earn more than Sh200m per year,” he said.

He added, “There was flooding which destroyed a lot of investments when we started phase three. We are working with the Ministry of Environment to address the issue. We need to renovate the conference facility at Weiwei.”

KVDA Managing Director Sammy Naporos said phase three which is now at 70 per cent will support more than 200 farmers

“Everyone is optimistic about improved economic growth with the implementation of the third phase of the scheme,” he said.

Mr Naporos said the components of the project will involve civil works, project design and supervision, irrigation infrastructure and other works.

A second component of the project will involve capacity building and the supply of equipment and machinery. He noted that the authority will spend Sh300 million to build capacity building of farmers who are set to benefit from the project.

KVDA chair Mark Chesergon said the authority is happy with the progress of the project.