National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has invested millions of shillings to enhance food security programmes in Northern Kenya.
In the counties of Mandera and Wajir, 42 vibrant irrigation projects have been established benefitting more than 5,000 families.
Introduction of irrigation, transformed the nomadic way of living with tens of people embracing the new culture, selling surplus food to their neighbours.
The nomadic families through the programme have embraced farming alongside livestock keeping.
In the past two years, acreage under irrigation has risen to 1,940 benefitting over 3,500 households.
Lehele Chief Mr Mohammed Noor said rehabilitation of the dams has turned around the economy of the locals, who have been buying vegetables and fruits from as far as Garrisa.
The livestock, he said has too benefitted with the availability of water and herders walking short distances in search of pasture unlike in the past.
“Around the dams, the farmers have positioned diesel pumps that have made it easy to do irrigation,” said the chief based in Mandera county.
The projects range from 20 - 200 acres each with the majority of them growing fruit trees such as mangoes, bananas, pawpaw, oranges among others and vegetables such as kales, tomatoes, capsicum among others.
In Mandera County, there are 22 projects including Lehele Irrigation project that cover 1,240 acres of land, with about 1,240 farmers directly benefiting from the food security programmes.
In Wajir County, 20 irrigation projects have been developed, which includes Mansa Irrigation Project among others where 700 acres are utilised benefitting over 1,000 farmers.
Khalif Adan a vegetable farmer said he has transformed his life after he ventured into farming.
“I farm bananas and onions which is my new way of life, as I mint money through selling of the surplus to the neighbours,” Khalif said.
Mzee Suleiman Omar on his part said the community in Mandera and Wajir was appreciative to the national government for initiating a sustainable programme that has awoken the villages.
“For a long time the dams have been idle but after President Uhuru Kenyatta government allocated funds for rehabilitation there is a smile on the faces of the locals,” said Omar.
NIA Communication Manager Daniel Nzonzo said food security is one of the national government strategies on enhancing the Big Four Agenda.
Mr Nzonzo said the irrigation programmes in Northern Kenya will go along providing the locals with food and improving their nutrition.
“The authority has come up with the most sustainable way of providing water to the residents for Irrigation, livestock and domestic use by excavating community water pans and sinking boreholes at strategic areas for use by the community,” said Nzonzo.