Galana irrigation project fails to meet target in second phase

The viability of a Sh7 billion Galana Kulalu irrigation project is still in doubt after the second crop failed to attain a targeted yield of 40 bags of maize per acre.

The failure has been largely attributed to the El Nino rains that pounded the country, amid other challenges of capacity and crop variety.

However, Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has remained optimistic that the next crop planted on 500 acres of land set for harvest in August will attain the target, saying that weather condition has been favourable.

“The project seems to be taking face. The second crop planted on 500 acres failed to meet its expectations due to El Nino rains. We are expecting that we should get at least 40 bags per acre on the August harvest based on what we have seen so far,” CS Wamalwa said.

According to the CS, Sh3 billion out of the Sh7 billion allocated for the scheme has been spent and 2,000 acres have been covered with crop.

“From the experts, they have informed us that they did not achieve what they set to achieve but what we have now, the third and final run is what will give us a clear picture of what has been achieved here,” confirmed the Cabinet Secretary.

Wamalwa spoke while he toured the project, which is being implemented by Green Arava of Israel ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 3 day state visit to Kenya that began yesterday.

He urged Kenyans to support the project which is meant to ensure food security in the country without necessarily depending on rain fed agriculture.

“The intention of the model farm was really to show the potential. We have shown that out of the shrubs of Galana, we can grow a beautiful crop, we can feed this nation,” said Wamalwa.

The Galana/Kulalu project is meant to provide the country with food security and aims to see Kenya stop importing 10 million bags of maize every year. At the same time, Kenya is implementing lessons learnt from Israel, which has remained food sufficient despite 80 per cent of its land being either arid or semi-arid.

CS Wamalwa said that the project will not only look at the growth of maize but different varieties of crop as well. He however reassured maize farmers to continue growing their crop despite Galana’s failure, stating that Kenya’s food security will need them to continue playing their role.

The varieties of maize currently planted on the 20, 000 acres include Pundamilia, DKC, Duma 43, pH4 among others.

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