Former Agricultural Parliamentary Committee chairman John Mututho has called for the disbandment of the National Irrigation Board (NIB) saying it had contributed to the current crisis of food shortage in parts of the country.
Mututho said despite the board’s huge funds allocation it had failed to meet its expectations with the results being Kenyans dying of hunger in a situation that could be contained.
He said the board embarked on construction of several dams that were to provide irrigation but none had been completed yet the money had been consumed.
The vocal former Naivasha MP termed Chemusus dam, Perkera, Bura and Galana-Kulalu irrigation schemes as avenues for corruption where the board failed to meet its target.
Addressing the press in Naivasha, Mututho said the projects were heavily funded and were to ensure food security by providing irrigated agriculture but NIB did shoddy work.
He said that Kenyans had lost billions of shillings in the projects leaving counties in dire need of food that would have been efficient had the board performed its mandate.
“It time we ask serious questions about NIB because this is an institution that was being auctioned in 2001 but when we were in parliament we lobbied and had Ksh 23B transferred to it then it failed to deliver”.
He said recently the board could not explain exactly what happened in the Galana-Kulalu project in Tana River County adding that it had turned to be just another ghost project.
“We know the exchequer provided about Ksh 6B on top of Ksh 14B from the Israeli government but all this has gone to waste in a project that was so promising to ensure Kenya was food secure”.
“It is shameful that of the 1.8M acres that were to be put on irrigation Kenyans required a partly 650,000 acres to be food sufficient but somebody somewhere decided to turn the project into a cash cow and the results can clearly be seen”.
While calling for its disbandment, Mututho claimed that about 50 shoddy companies were contracted to carry out ‘bush clearing’ for the project at a cost of Ksh 4.3B yet the Israeli contractor was able to work it out while planting maize.
“Worse of all is when the contractor wanted to buy the maize that was not harvested from 250,000 acres and was going to waste to distribute it to starving residents near the project but some government officers declined the offer saying there never existed a harvesting policy from the state”.
“We invite the CS responsible for Agriculture to move with speed and disband this moribund institution and transfer its functions to counties as required and at the same time request the DCI to probe some of the officers at the board”.