A small-scale irrigation project championed by the Coast Development Authority (CDA) in Chakama location, Malindi Sub county of Kilifi is changing livelihoods.
The CDA has spent 22 million shillings towards support for the agriculture initiative in the arid Chakama location prone to drought and famine.
CDA Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Keinan said the smallholder irrigation scheme aimed at boosting food security in the region has started yielding benefits to the residents.
Dr. Keinan said the project is one of the three projects that are undertaken by the authority in the region to improve food security.
CDA supports the Chakama irrigation scheme covering 218 acres using water sources from the Galana River that meanders in the county.
He said the project is slowly turning Chakama which sits on the banks of river Galana to be the food basket of Kilifi and improving the living standards of the people.
Speaking in an interview Dr. Keinan said the project seeks to increase food security through promotion of irrigation farming among small holder farmers in Chakama thereby building their resilience to climate change, increase food security and improve living standards.
“This agricultural initiative is aimed at unlocking the existing potential in the county to improve food security, farmer’s income and general livelihoods of the residents,” said Dr. Keinan.
He says the irrigation project has ensured food sustenance for the scheme members as well as advanced environmental conservation.
Dr. Keinan says the small scale irrigation project that is slowly turning the region into greenbelts will improve food security, agriculture-based income and general livelihood of Kilifi dwellers.
He said efforts towards changing the lives of the inhabitants of the area started since 1969 but little has been achieved until CDA did a survey in 2007 in the whole of the Coast region to identify areas that could be supported to undertake modern farming practices and Chakama was identified as one of such areas.
Dr. Keinan said CDA is ready to replicate the project in other arid areas in the coastal region as the focus shifts from rain-fed agriculture irrigation to stem food crisis.
A farmer’s representative in Chakama Solomon Kisomba said the villagers were excited by the project and were ready to cooperate with CDA in its efforts of transforming agriculture in their villages.
Ibrahim Munga, the project coordinator said the irrigation scheme is aimed at enabling people to practice modern agricultural practices so as to improve production and productivity since there are unreliable rainfalls in the area.
He said local farmers are planting and started harvesting crops such as Maize, Bananas, Kales, cabbages, tomatoes and spiny amaranth (Mchicha).