The National government through Coast Development Authority (CDA) has launched a Sh.45 million Challa Integrated Water Resource Project in Taita taveta County.
The project will benefit farmers in Nakuruto and Challa areas where at least 100 smallholder farmers are set to gain from the first phase of the project in the region to boost agricultural productivity and improve food security.
The project will go a long way in improving the lives of smallholder farmers and reduce vulnerability in the catchment area of Lake Challa, a volcanic crater that covers 4.5 square kilometers is a trans boundary freshwater lake on the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The project is aimed at utilising the Lake Challa water resource to supply water for domestic and irrigation use for the benefit of the residents of Taveta, Mwatate and Voi areas and supply water to support livestock, fisheries and forestry including wildlife at the Tsavo national park.
The 1,000 hectare irrigation project is supposed to be implemented in three phases and once complete is to cost the National government 3.3 billion shillings.
Besides small holders farming the project is undertaking domestic water supply to 7,000 people and 15,000 livestock and seeks to spur socio-economic development, promotion of value addition and environmental sustainability.
Speaking during the launch of the project in Taita Taveta Nakuruto area, Coast Regional Commissioner Mr John Elungata who also doubles as the Chair of the National Development Implementation Technical Committee in the Coastal region said the National Government has implemented more than 500 development projects in the region.
Elungata said mega projects like the construction of Lamu Port, expansion of the port of Mombasa, Dongo Kundu bypass project, tarmacking of Voi-Taita Taveta road, Taveta one border post, Kshs 50 million Gemstone value addition Centre in Voi and Kshs 362 million Bachuma Livestock Export Processing Zone (LEPZ) among others.
Elungata said the overall objective of the projects is to increase food security, improve nutrition, boost farmers’ income and contribute to employment opportunities especially at the farm level.
[Coast RC John Elungata during a visit to lake Challa water project. Photo/Ahmed Omar].
He urged the CDA to empower farmers through formation of a cooperative society and also help them in marketing the proposed crops to be grown in the project which includes banana, maize, beans, cabbages, and pepper and horticultural crops such as tomatoes, onions and kales.
Elungata also appealed to Kenya Wildlife officers in Taita Taveta County to stamp out wildlife menace in the areas of Nakuruto and Challa by erecting a perimeter fence between the Tsavo Park and the villagers farm lands.