Coast Development Authority injects Sh22m in Kilifi's Chakama irrigation project

Local farmers are planting and have started harvesting crops such as maize, bananas, kales, cabbage, tomatoes and mchicha.

The Coast Development Authority (CDA) has pumped Sh22 million towards the establishment of an agricultural initiative irrigation project in Chakama location, Malindi subcounty in Kilifi.

The area which is prone to drought and famine is set to benefit from enhanced food crop harvest that will change the livelihood of the local community.

CDA Managing Director Dr Mohamed Keinan said the smallholder irrigation scheme aimed at boosting food security in the region has started yielding benefits for the residents.

Keinan said the Chakama smallholder irrigation project is one of the three projects that are undertaken by the authority in the region to improve food security.

''CDA supports the Chakama irrigation scheme covering 218 acres using water sources from the Galana River that meanders in the county,'' the official said.

He said the project is slowly turning Chakama, which sits on the banks of River Galana, to be the food basket of Kilifi and improving the living standards of the people.

The MD said the project seeks to improve food security through promotion of irrigation farming among smallholder farmers in Chakama, thereby building their resilience to climate change.

He said the agricultural initiative is aimed at unlocking the existing potential in the county to improve food security, income for farmers and general livelihoods of the residents.

Keinan added that the irrigation project has ensured food sustenance for members of the scheme as well as advanced environmental conservation.

Dr Keinan said the small-scale irrigation project that is slowly turning the region into greenbelts will improve food security and agriculture-based income in Kilifi.

He said efforts towards changing the lives of the inhabitants of the area started in 1969 but little has been achieved until CDA did a survey in 2007 at the Coast to identify areas that could be supported to undertake modern farming practices and Chakama was identified as one of such areas.

Dr Keinan said CDA is ready to replicate the project in other arid areas in the coastal region as the focus shifts from rain-fed agriculture irrigation to stem food crisis.

A farmers' representative in the area, Solomon Kisomba, said the villagers were excited by the project and were ready to cooperate with CDA in its efforts of transforming agriculture in their villages.

Ibrahim Munga, a project coordinator, said the irrigation scheme is aimed at enabling people to practice modern agricultural practices to improve production and productivity following unreliable rainfall.

He said local farmers are planting and have started harvesting crops such as maize, bananas, kales, cabbage, tomatoes and mchicha.

Farmer Eunice Kasena said household income for local farmers has improved greatly adding that they are ready to guard the project for posterity.

''We are grateful to CDA  for coming to our help. Over time we have been dependant on relief handouts but with this noble initiative and a working community, we shall overcome that,'' she said.

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