Government, local universities to partner in phase two of Galana Scheme

The first phase of the Galana Irrigation Scheme project is expected to be completed by March this year, paving way for commencement of commercial production at the farm.

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the government is opening up the farm to the private sector as it targets to put 400,000 acres under crop in phase two of the project.

The government has also announced it will be utilizing local expertise in implementing food security projects across the country.

In this regard, the government is partnering with four top local universities in the country comprising the University of Nairobi, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Moi University as well as Egerton University who will bring in an array of technical know-how to support the Galana project as well as other irrigation projects across the country.

The Vice Chancellors from the four universities accompanied ministry officials to the Galana Irrigation Scheme as they prepared to officially start collaboration in various aspects.

“We have all types of experts in the universities. We have engineers, agronomists, quantity surveyors and others and I believe we will be able to assist and eventually make Kenya food secure,” noted The University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi.

The experts from the local universities are also expected to develop more sustainable ways of food production through extensive research, development of new technologies as well as policy formulation.

“We will be involved in the whole value chain. From water harvesting, storage and purification of water, designing and construction of dams, as well as post harvest technologies. We are also committed in the mechanization of agriculture,” said JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga.

The Moi University acting Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro expressed commitment in the new plan saying the university has already been partnering with the government in other projects in the manufacturing sector such as ensuring Rivatex remains viable and sustainable.

His counterpart Rose Mwonya, the Egerton Vice Chancellor noted that the University will continue assisting in policy formulation for the agriculture sector through its research wing Tegemeo Institute, as well as get involved in extension work in addition to other technical assistance.

The first phase of the Galana Kulalu Food Security project is largely involved in research, laying down irrigation infrastructure as well as trials for suitable maize varieties for the area.

The Israeli firm contracted to implement phase one of the project, Green Arava has already made strides in putting in place irrigation infrastructure paving way for phase two of the project.

“We have received the final batch of the required equipment. We expect that in the next two months, laying down of the remaining infrastructure will complete, marking the end of phase one of this project,” said Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

The first phase of the Galana Irrigation Scheme project is expected to be completed by March this year, paving way for commencement of commercial production at the farm.

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the government is opening up the farm to the private sector as it targets to put 400,000 acres under crop in phase two of the project.

The government has also announced it will be utilizing local expertise in implementing food security projects across the country.

In this regard, the government is partnering with four top local universities in the country comprising the University of Nairobi, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Moi University as well as Egerton University who will bring in an array of technical know-how to support the Galana project as well as other irrigation projects across the country.

The Vice Chancellors from the four universities accompanied ministry officials to the Galana Irrigation Scheme as they prepared to officially start collaboration in various aspects.

“We have all types of experts in the universities. We have engineers, agronomists, quantity surveyors and others and I believe we will be able to assist and eventually make Kenya food secure,” noted The University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi.

The experts from the local universities are also expected to develop more sustainable ways of food production through extensive research, development of new technologies as well as policy formulation.

“We will be involved in the whole value chain. From water harvesting, storage and purification of water, designing and construction of dams, as well as post harvest technologies. We are also committed in the mechanization of agriculture,” said JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga.

The Moi University acting Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro expressed commitment in the new plan saying the university has already been partnering with the government in other projects in the manufacturing sector such as ensuring Rivatex remains viable and sustainable.

His counterpart Rose Mwonya, the Egerton Vice Chancellor noted that the University will continue assisting in policy formulation for the agriculture sector through its research wing Tegemeo Institute, as well as get involved in extension work in addition to other technical assistance.

The first phase of the Galana Kulalu Food Security project is largely involved in research, laying down irrigation infrastructure as well as trials for suitable maize varieties for the area.

The Israeli firm contracted to implement phase one of the project, Green Arava has already made strides in putting in place irrigation infrastructure paving way for phase two of the project.

“We have received the final batch of the required equipment. We expect that in the next two months, laying down of the remaining infrastructure will complete, marking the end of phase one of this project,” said Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa

After completion of phase one, Green Arava will exit the scene, leaving the management of the scheme to the Agricultural Development Corporation, ADC. The government is inviting the private sector in the implementation of the second phase, mainly for commercial production.

“Agriculture has to be viable, that is why we will do commercial production at Galana. The Agricultural Development Corporation, ADC, is going to help us utilize agricultural land not just here in Galana but across the country as well,” added Willy Bett, CS for Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock.

So far, 212,980 bags of maize have been harvested from 5,145 acres at the Galana Irrigation Scheme, with the best yield being an average 31 bags per acre.

The National Irrigation Board says despite various challenges including abnormally high temperatures as well as an attack by Fall Armyworms which affected production, there are hopes of even higher yields going forward.

The National Irrigation Board General Manager Gitonga Mugambi says, “This has been a learning experience for us. We have reached a high of 39 bags of maize per acre at Galana, this is far higher than the national average of 18 bags per acre. We are aiming higher and we believe we will have better yields as we work closely with ADC.”

The Galana Irrigation Scheme Project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2014 and is one of the projects under the Food Security focus area in the President’s Big Four Plan for economic development.

After completion of phase one, Green Arava will exit the scene, leaving the management of the scheme to the Agricultural Development Corporation, ADC. The government is inviting the private sector in the implementation of the second phase, mainly for commercial production.

“Agriculture has to be viable, that is why we will do commercial production at Galana. The Agricultural Development Corporation, ADC, is going to help us utilize agricultural land not just here in Galana but across the country as well,” added Willy Bett, CS for Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock.

So far, 212,980 bags of maize have been harvested from 5,145 acres at the Galana Irrigation Scheme, with the best yield being an average 31 bags per acre.

The National Irrigation Board says despite various challenges including abnormally high temperatures as well as an attack by Fall Armyworms which affected production, there are hopes of even higher yields going forward.

The National Irrigation Board General Manager Gitonga Mugambi says, “This has been a learning experience for us. We have reached a high of 39 bags of maize per acre at Galana, this is far higher than the national average of 18 bags per acre. We are aiming higher and we believe we will have better yields as we work closely with ADC.”

The Galana Irrigation Scheme Project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2014 and is one of the projects under the Food Security focus area in the President’s Big Four Plan for economic development.

  

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