NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – The coastal region will benefit the most from the 2013/2014 budgetary allocation to irrigation.
The Galana Ranch in the coastal region, will receive Sh3.6 billion for the sinking of water points as well as, “completing the detailed study, developing an implementation framework and business plan, administrative support, monitoring and reporting,” Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said in his budget speech.
A further Sh8 billion has been allocated to irrigation projects in other parts of the country.
On completion, the Galana irrigation project is expected to create three million jobs and bolster the country’s food security.
“Food takes up about 70 percent of the household budget such that when food prices rise it creates agitation for higher wages, which in turn weakens our competitiveness,” Rotich said.
On June 8 Deputy President William Ruto assured persons from the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, that the government had set aside Sh15 billion in its bid to meet its pledge of putting one million acres of land under irrigation.
Also in an effort to ensure food security, Rotich said Sh2 billion will be used to set up an Agri-business fund to encourage farming.
The Sh2 billion, Rotich promised, will grow to Sh20 billion in the next four years.
“The Sh2 billion set aside for the Agri-Business Fund is to de-risk and leverage commercial bank lending to smallholder and commercial farmers throughout the country,” Rotich explained.
Speaking seperately to Capital FM News, the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Felix Koskei, welcomed the Treasury’s commitment to improving and growing the road and rail network saying farmers incur great losses trying to get their produce to market.
The Treasury has allocated Sh97.9 billion for road expansion and Sh22 billion for the commencement of the construction of a standard-gauge railway from Mombasa to Kisumu.
Rotich has also pledged to fast track the setting up of a Commodities Exchange Market which Acting Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Chief Executive Officer Paul Muthaura has “strongly welcomed.”
“We’re glad the Cabinet Secretary gave it prominence because we have been engaging with them on it and it will contribute to national development,” Muthaura told Capital FM News.