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Israeli envoy hints at plans to revive Galana Kulalu

By Allan Mungai | July 25th 2020
Israel Ambassador to Kenya Oded Joseph (left) handovers a donation of front-line equipment to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) CEO Dr Evanson Kamuri in Nairobi. [David Njaaga/Standard]

The Israeli government is in talks with Kenya to expand the scale of the Galana Kulalu food security project and roll out more model farms.

Speaking in Nairobi yesterday, Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Oded Joseph said although there were hurdles in the execution of the ambitious Galana Kulalu's pilot phase, the project had great potential that justifies its reevaluation.

"We can learn from the good things and also from the less successful parts to go to the next level, which is the national scale," the envoy said. 

Joseph said the project had shown that with the right technology and expertise, agricultural production could be increased.

For instance, he said, there were successes in the technology that was applied that saw an increase in the yield from the project.

Galana Kulalu demonstrated that it was possible to increase maize production fourfold, from a yield of 19 bags of maize in year to 80 bags.

"We are engaged with many partners here in Kenya on the national scale level of the food security cooperation," he said. 

Agri parks

"All the discussions are in the context of how we could develop the food security project from one model farm to at least three agriparks to boost Kenya's food security," Joseph said.

In the proposal Israel has made to Kenya, the agriparks will include a centre of excellence that will become a mini research and development centre to test seeds and crops, post harvesting techniques, marketing and food processing.

In 2014, the National Irrigation Board now National Irrigation Authority (NIA) signed a Sh14.5 billion contract with Israeli firm Green Arava Ltd to establish an irrigation scheme in Kilifi and Tana River counties.

But there has been push and pull between the contractor and NIA over payments, stalling the project. 

Joseph also noted that shocks caused by Covid-19, locust invasion and environmental challenges was putting pressure on countries to build resilient food systems. 

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