The ongoing implementation of smallholder irrigation programme in 19 counties is on course, the government has confirmed.
The project when completed will have cost the government Kshs. 1.2 billion according to the Chief Administrative Secretary for Water and Irrigation Dr Andrew Tuimur who added four counties within Mt Kenya region have benefited from the program.
He said farmers in Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, and Meru counties are among the 19 counties covered under the project meant to increase the national acreage under irrigation.
Speaking at Ndomba village in Kirinyaga County while on a tour of the ongoing projects within Mwea East Sub-county Wednesday, the CAS said the government had spent Kshs. 254 million to implement the programme for 2000 farmers across Kirinyaga county so far.
Tuimur and his team also inspected the progress of the ongoing Kshs. 500 million Kerugoya/Kutus sewerage system whose treatment tanks are located within Ndomba village.
He said the government had come up with a requirement that all water supply projects must have a component of the sewerage systems
“It is along that line that we have a Kshs. 1.3 billion water supply system under construction alongside the sewerage project which when completed will serve Kerugoya, Kutus, Kagio and Sagana towns within this county,“ he said.
The intake is currently under construction within Mt Kenya forest.
The water will be drawn from Kiringa and Thiba rivers at the Nyagithuci section of the dense forest, according to the contractor.
The Ministry of water, sanitation and irrigation is the implementing agency through a programme management unit based in Embu and which is headed by an implementation support consultant (ISC). The role of the national government is to provide overall oversight and policy guidance on program implementation to the PMU.
Tuimur said projects are implemented on a cost-sharing basis where farmers contribute 50% of the construction cost through loans from partner banks with the other 50% being a grant from the government.
The farmers are also expected to raise 10% of the loan amount upfront as credit security.
“This model of implementation of smallholder irrigation projects has proved to be highly sustainable as it encourages ownership.” he said
In Kirinyaga County, the program has implemented six irrigation projects which include Murinduko, Kutus East, Mittoini, Kithumbu, Kandiu, and Karia covering 1720 acres of land and benefiting 2053 farmers at a cost of Sh265.4 million.
Majority of the farmers, the CAS said have completed repaying the loans and the schemes are in production.
Currently, six farmer groups have been selected and schemes are being designed for construction to commence.
They include Kandeki and Miuka in Kirinyaga county and Gatene in Embu county.
The Ministry, he said, is also implementing other projects in these counties at a total cost of Kshs. 18.124 billion.
“All the programs are meant to contribute to achieving the Big 4 agenda and cushioning the residents against the effects of Covid 19.
Since 2013, the government through the Ministry has invested Kshs. 3.016 billion in Embu county in particular by implementing 17 water and irrigation projects. In Kirinyaga County, 16 projects have been undertaken at a cost of Kshs. 15.108 billion, 10 of which are complete and in operation,” the CAS disclosed.