The Italian government has given a soft loan amounting to Euros 9,187,491 (about Sh. 1 billion) to Wei Wei Integrated Development Project phase 3 in West Pokot County.
The release of the funds will see 325Ha of additional land under irrigation and brings the total land under irrigation in Wei Wei to 600Ha because under phase 1 and 2, a total of 275Ha were put under irrigation.
Jonathan Ruto, Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), Regional Manager (RM) said the components of the project will involve civil works, covering project design and supervision, irrigation infrastructure and other works while under component two will involve capacity building and supply of equipment and machinery.
Speaking on Tuesday in Kapenguria during the county development implementation coordination committee (CDICC) meeting chaired by the area County Commissioner (CC), Apollo Okello, Ruto said additional funds will increase crop production and help attain food security.
He pointed out some of the challenges facing the project as the high rate of soil erosion of Korellach catchment area, saying this had caused damage to the irrigation system and slow adoption of training by farmers.
“We have seen that famers are slow in adoption of training and destruction of the pipes by the community to get water for their livestock. But we are sourcing for more funds for capacity building of the local farmers”, he said
“The beneficiaries under phase 1 and 2 have been able to increase crop production and generate additional income to improve their livelihoods and we hope that after completion of phase 3 more farmers benefit and in the long run improve the economy of the area,” said the RM.
The project activities commenced in May 2016 under an implementation period of 24 months.
Under last mile connectivity in the county by Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), the KPLC regional sales manager, Milimoh Amusavi said the programme will cover 239 schemes targeting 7,330 consumers, saying it will be carried out in three phases
Amusavi said under phase one which is complete the project covered 112 schemes benefiting 3,800 consumers, adding that 231 public primary schools got connected to power.
He pointed out that getting some of the necessary documents from the customers has proved to be a challenge as some are unwilling to give them.
“Before installation of any power to your house there are some documents needed by the KPLC. Some of these are copies Identity card, certificate of wiring among other but some are unwilling to produce. So we don’t know whether they have or not,” said Amusavi.
The CC called on leaders to educate the wananchi on the importance of giving out such documents, saying the government wants to ensure that every Kenyan get access to power.