The National Assembly Public Petitions Committee has asked the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) to expedite the procurement of a modern electric water pump for installation at the West Kano Irrigation Scheme in Kisumu County to boost rice production in the region.
Committee Vice Chairperson Janet Sitienei, who is also the Turbo MP, said rice is one of the staple foods in the country hence there is need to ensure the scheme is revamped to ensure food security in the country.
NIA Acting Deputy General Manager in charge of Operations and Irrigation Management Services Joel Tanui said they have requisitioned a modern electric pump for installation at the scheme in Kisumu County to boost rice production.
Tanui said the agency has allocated funds for the initiative in the 2023-2024 FY budget as a move to open up more land for irrigation in the 5, 000 acre scheme to scale up rice production.
He said NIA was aware of the plight of farmers in Kano and that the agency is committed to scale up irrigation to boost food security in the country adding that measures have been put in place to modernize operations at the scheme.
He revealed that the decision to install a new pump at the scheme follows public outcry from farmers who petitioned the NIA to return the pump to open up blocks of the vast scheme which have been cut off following the recent floods experienced in the area.
“We had to move the pump to Ahero Irrigation Scheme because at that time, we were experiencing a big challenge at the scheme that threatened to destroy rice worth Ksh600 million,” he said.
NIA Acting CEO Engineer Charles Muasya said the agency is setting up proper structures to facilitate operations at the scheme.
For the past six years, West Kano Irrigation Scheme has been bedeviled with lots of challenges which have negatively impacted rice production in the area.
With approximately 2, 300 acres of farm land available for production, farmers claim that a paltry 30 percent has actively been put to use.
The committee visit had been necessitated following a petition by a farmer, Pastor Ochieng Odindo.
Some of the challenges the farmers face include lack of water supply due to lack of a pump, stalled farm machineries which have led to increased cost of mechanization services at the scheme, scheme management challenges, low market prices and lack of access to markets for their produce.
By Fredrick Odiero
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