KENYA: 642 basins installed to improve irrigation in rural areas

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KENYA: 642 basins installed to improve irrigation in rural areas© Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock

Kenya's National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has built some 642 basins in three sub-counties across the country. The initiative will strengthen the country's agricultural practice and food security. The total cost of the project is 137.4 million shillings, approximately $1.3 million.

The Limuru and Kikuyu sub-counties in Kenya now house 642 basins newly constructed in this East African country by the National Irrigation Authority (NIA). The basins will encourage the construction of additional irrigation systems that will allow farmers to produce more food crops. According to NIA Director Loice Kahiga, the basins will produce more than 1000 m³ of water to irrigate 324 hectares of land. The irrigation system is expected to boost food production, including horticulture and tea, which sustains 8 million Kenyans ( about 8% of the population). The implementation of this project has also enabled the Kibuyu sub-county to benefit from 189 water tanks and the Limuru sub-county to recover 99.

Good news for farmers

Faith Nanchala is a farmer in Kiambu County, located north of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It is one of the localities that benefits from the new irrigation basins. In May 2019, this farmer was concerned about the fate of his corn and bean field due to the uncertainties of nature. The main reason is the scarcity of rainfall. In a report broadcast by Radio France International (RFI), he said that the long drought had plunged him into unprecedented uncertainty. “In March, it rained three times. In April, only once. Normally, my bean plants should be much taller. But look, they’re tiny. If the rains don’t come, my plants will dry up and I won’t be able to harvest anything. In that case, I should go look for work to feed the children. I have three of them. I’ll clean houses, things like that”.

The National Irrigation Authority plans to build water reservoirs with a total volume of 260,000 m3 by the end of 2020. It also intends to rehabilitate existing reservoirs. The works will help accelerate the storage of 100,000 m3 of water produced, that will serve the populations of the sub-counties of Lari and Githunguri and will be able to irrigate 121 hectares of plantation.

In Kenya, about 20 of the 47 counties are on drought alert. More than one million people are already considered food insecure….

Luchelle Feukeng

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