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Italy gives Sh900m for irrigation scheme

By | April 11th 2012

By Edwin Cheserek

The Italian Government has granted Kenya Sh900 million as soft loan to initiate a 325-hectare irrigation scheme in Pokot Central District.

Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) will implement the project on behalf of the government.

KVDA Managing Director Francis Kipkech said the funding would also rehabilitate 275 hectares of existing schemes.

He said the project’s highlight is to address food insecurity, environmental conservation and to empower the communities economically.

“We are initiating this economic stimulus purposely to sustain food sufficiency and income generation for those living around these areas,” Kipkech told The Standard.

He said the project that will be implemented in Ptokou and Sangat-Korelach sub-locations would benefit 10,000 residents.

Kipkech said the area has high potential for agriculture, adding that much of the water would be drawn from Weiwei River.

An Italian firm that will be the main contractor will be allowed to sub-contract Kenyan firms through internal advertisements.

Farmers with the state development agency and the County Council of Pokot will jointly own the scheme.

“A farmers’ committee has been set up to run the project activities whereas KVDA and Italy will be represented on the same board,” Kipkech said.

The project was first initiated 16 years ago but stalled because of insecurity occasioned by cattle rustling and banditry.

Plans are underway to extend the next phase to other areas to address over-dependency on pastoralism.

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