MPs want irrigation schemes in constituencies

June 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – Parliament now wants the government to establish at least 2,000 acres of small holder irrigation schemes in each constituency to improve food security and create jobs.

The House on Wednesday passed a Motion petitioning the Ministry of Agriculture to team up with that of Water and Irrigation in setting up the schemes across the country.

While moving the Motion, Marakwet West MP Boaz Kaino said: “We are tired of going out all the time looking for food in a country God has blessed with numerous rivers, ground water and springs that we have not utilised effectively.”

“If we can have this by creating dams, boreholes and harvesting rain water this county will be self sufficient and you can be proud to be a Kenyan where you are not begging all the time,” he said.

The Motion is hinged on the fact that rainfall is inadequate and unreliable in a “Country that relies on rain-fed agriculture for food production.”

In his Motion, Mr Kaino said the government should “appreciate the need to ensure that all households can reliably and affordably access basic food items.”

The Motion was lauded by backbenchers who said it would ensure the reproduction of different varieties of food crops across the country.

“Such schemes used to exist in the colonial period but were scrapped by the independent government; it is this we want reinstated,” said Garsen MP Danson Mungatana.

“This will help a lot of our rural folk to make a step forward in terms of food security.”

Nominated MP Mohammed Affey however said that besides the implementation of the project there was need for change of attitude and tact from Treasury officials who allocate resources.

“People who stay at Treasury have no idea of how Kenya looks like and therefore they allocate funds as they think the country looks like,” he complained.

Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei however said the implementation of the ambitious project requires massive financial injection.

“Treasury should significantly raise the current 2.7 percent allocation of the budget it is giving the Ministry,” she said.

Earlier in the year, the government revived major irrigation schemes but the project got a setback after a bumper harvest. Produce was reported to be rotting in farms following delays by the National Cereals and Produce Board to purchase the produce as promised.

Another bumper harvest in the usually dry Ukambani region occasioned by a combination of good rains and communal efforts has been hit by aflatoxin poisoning.

“As we implement this project we should be prepared to handle the bumper harvest. We should establish driers across the country,” said Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa.


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