TANA RIVER, Kenya, Nov 6 — The Government, through the Ministries of Water and Irrigation and Devolution and Planning has embarked on drought mitigation exercises in Tana River and Ganze areas of Kilifi County where thousands of affected residents received foodstuffs and water related provisions.
The residents adversely affected by the ongoing drought in the coast region are mostly in the counties of Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu and Taita Taveta in the Coast region.
This exercise which was led by the Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa and his Devolution counterpart, Mwangi Kiunjuri commenced at the Galana Food Security Programme farm in Tana River and the delegation later on went to Jaribuni area, Ganze, both in Kilifi County.
Through this Programme, the National Treasury has released Funds for the Month of November to some Ministries to enable them come up with strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of the ongoing drought which has hit some counties in the Country.
The Ministry of of Water and Irrigation has been given at least Sh221 million through the State Department of Water Services, under Prof. Fred Segor who has already constituted a Ministerial Committee chaired by Ag. Secretary Water , Eng. Lawrence Simitu.
The Committee has already empowered relevant water service boards within the Ministry with programmes in the affected counties to urgently implement drought mitigation activities under the coordination of the Ministry and Kilifi residents become the first recipients of the drought kitty. Next week, the team will be in Garissa and more affected counties will be visited until all relevant areas benefit from these activities.
While at the Galana-Kulalu Food Security programme, CS Wamalwa handed over 62,000 bags of maize harvested from the farm to Kiunjuri to be distributed as famine relief to the affected counties in the Coast region .
CS Wamalwa said “today we witness the reality of the Government’s efforts to feed its citizens by providing those affected by drought with the first fruits of Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project model farm which is aflatoxin free maize.” He promised the affected residents that they will get more maize released to them to a tune of 150,000 bags over the next 4 months.
Later on the two CSs also distributed free water and food to residents of Ganze in Kilifi County. They reaffirmed the Government’s Commitment to the ongoing drought migitation programme which they said will go a long way in cushioning affected people from the harsh effects of the ongoing drought.
Water Services Principal Secretary Segor assured residents affected by the drought that his department was rehabilitating Bore Holes, providing free water from water bowsers among other strategies to ensure adequate supply of the commodity to them and their animals.
Area MP Peter Shehe and Nominated Senator Mvita Mshenga were also present during this event.
Speaking earlier during the first event, Wamalwa described the Galana-Kulalu Food Security project as a Success story and cautioned politicians against peddling falsehoods against ongoing projects in his Ministry like the Northern Water Collector Tunnel in Muranga, Itare Dam in Nakuru and many others saying Kenyans deserved efficient, effective and affordable water and the government should be allowed to provide it without undue criticism.
“Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project Model Farm continues gathering momentum. The scope of works for the model farm consist of irrigation systems, pumping stations, logistics Centre, agricultural machinery and one year operations and maintenance commenced on September 11, 2014 and is currently at 70 per cent completion rate. The area under irrigation is 16 per cent of the total agricultural area, but the crop yield is 40 per cent of the total yield. Hence the productivity of irrigated land is four times that of unirrigated land. In terms of monetary value of the yield, the irrigated crops is seven times of that unirrigated crops basically due to high quality and production scheduling. The project is due for completion in March, 2017” the CS said.
Speaking during the same function, PS Irrigation Nduati Mwangi said that “the Government has made a commitment to modernise and expand irrigated agriculture from the current 400,000 acres to 1.4 million acres. That is why Galana-Kulalu Food Security project was started within initial 10,000 acre model farm currently under construction to demonstrate the application of modern irrigation technologies and mechanisation.”
The two CSs flagged off lorries carrying famine relief to the affected counties in the coast region during both functions with the Devolution CS promising residents that apart from maize and water, his Ministry will continue to supply affected residents with rice, beans, and cooking oil in order to ensure a balanced diet.
The Tana River governor, Hussein Dado thanked the two CSs for their “timely intervention” as area residents were in dire need of food and water support from the government.