By Francis Mwema, January 10, 2022, President William Ruto’s plan to revamp the Galana Kulalu food project has been welcomed by a contingent of leaders from the Tana River County.
The president who had earlier revealed to the members of the public that he seeks to help farmers produce enough food had directed immediate halt of the subdivision of the irrigation project Land into settlement by few individuals as he directed the National Irrigation Authority under a public private partnership to work on the 10,000-acre model farm.
Led by Kipini West Member of county assembly Musa Wario who is also the minority leader in Tana River County assembly, the leaders said the president’s action to revive the food security project is welcomed and will go a long way in solving food security crisis in the country.
The leaders further said the host counties continue suffering from perennial food shortage and are among the worst hit by the revenging drought, and that harnessing the full potential in Galana Kulalu will be the best long-term solution to food scarcity in the region.
Wario further called on the president to also revive the three projects in Tana River County namely Tana Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) Irrigation project in Garsen constituency, Hola irrigation scheme in Galole Constituency and the Bura irrigation scheme in Bura Constituency.
Reports had indicated that government authorities were sourcing for 1.6 billion shillings to complete the entire revival of TARDA which will see the area begin large-scale rice production on 12,000-acre land.
Already the first phase of the project, which includes the opening up of a new intake channel, was complete and water able to reach the farms. The project was projected to irrigate a 12,000-acre farm of rice though initially, the authority managed to irrigate only 4,200 acres in 2022.
Before the collapse of TARDA project which was producing rise in early 90s, it used to compete with Pakistan rise producing companies because of the quality flooding Kenyan Markets which Wario says it is important that the Kenya Kwanza administration pumps in resources to revive the project.
He says despite Tana River County having the longest River that cuts across the county, a lot of water goes to waste with minimal utilization.
According to Wario, the other two irrigation schemes are as well struggling while TARDA was strategically positioned and required minimal resources to manage.
His words were echoed by other leaders in the region who affirmed that TARDA only requires gravity to pump water into the firms compared to other projects.
David Levi Hewani resident in Garsen Constituency recalls the good times when the project was at its peak which he says poverty levels continue to rise with parents unable to take their children to school because they lack employment.
Area residents say reviving the project will be a great opportunity to provide jobs and also get water that will enable them manage their irrigation projects.
The revival of various government irrigation projects has hit headlines as it seeks to end food insecurity.