Kenya and Israel governments are in talks over the revival of the one million Galana Kulalu irrigation project in Tana River County.
The Galana Model Farm which covers 10,000 acres contract was awarded to Green Arava of Israel in 2014 and was expected to be completed by 20th January 2018 but the works were still not complete thus stalling.
Israel Deputy Ambassador to Kenya Eyal David confirmed Friday that his government has had talks with various agencies including the ministry of agriculture, devolution and water as well as governors of both Kilifi and Tana River in order to get it back on track.
“I do hope that we will succeed in the near future since the project is important to both countries and enjoys a lot of goodwill from the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and president Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said.
Eyal who was speaking during a breakfast meeting organized by the Fresh Produce consortium of Kenya at a Nairobi hotel noted that Israel was focused on ensuring food security to the people of Kenya and thus the Galana Kulalu project cannot collapse.
With the efforts of the new Ambassador, the Galana Kulalu which already showed success cannot be ignored. We want to move from the model farm phase to national level and also create more model farms in several areas in the country, the Deputy Ambassador said.
The project stalled in early 2019 when the Israel Company contracted by the Government to construct a Sh7.2 billion Galana Kulalu 10, 000 acres model -Green Arava abandoned it after disagreeing with the National Irrigation Board over various issues.
“The company is still there only that there was some bad blood between it and some Kenya Government agencies. But the two Governments have resolved to revive the project. We believe in capacity of the company and currently we are at discussions with the stakeholders on how to move it forward,” said Eyal.
Eyal further said that apart from reviving the Galana Kulalu they are working towards bringing together agriculture students who had been trained in Israel to be able to come back and work for the government in the Galana project.
“We send 100 Agriculture students every year from Kenya for an 11 month agricultural training to learn how our country made it from the desert bloom to an agricultural country,” he said.
In May this year, the Deputy Ambassador said they will be holding an agri-preneurs event to create a platform for the more than 400 alumni of the project where they will involve financial institutions, companies and also Israeli companies based in Kenya together with government to help the students start and implement business plans and programmes and start off businesses gained after the training.
The students were to be embraced and employed by government in the stalled project.
“We do hope that the project will be back on track soon and that the students will be hired by the government,” Eyal said.