Home News FOOD SECURITY: Tana River farmers to benefit from Irrigation, Value Addition Project

FOOD SECURITY: Tana River farmers to benefit from Irrigation, Value Addition Project

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[Engineer Omari Josphat, Project manager, Small Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP) addressing journalists during well drilling exploration in Galole Sub-county, Tana River County. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

Tana River County has been in the limelight in the past, especially during humanitarian emergencies.

The regions’ vulnerability to disasters is due to a combination of several years of under development, frequent exposure to natural and man-made disasters and conflict over scarce resources of food and water compound the issues.

Agriculture being a backbone of the country’s economic growth, about 80% of the population lives in rural areas, and derives their livelihood largely from agriculture. Smallholder agriculture dominates the sector contributing 75% of the crops and livestock production.

Farmers typically do not have access to agricultural inputs like high-quality seeds and have limited access to improved technology and markets.  Kenya’s agriculture is largely rain-fed and often the quantity and reliability of rainfall has not been adequate to sustain crop production, leading to pervasive food insecurity in the country

The Small Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP) is working with communities affected by drought, not only to support recovery but also build resilience.

Fresh approach

SIVAP increases incomes, food security, and nutrition along the agricultural value chain by raising agricultural productivity and improving agricultural market access for poor and marginalized communities in 11 counties in arid and semi-arid regions.

The project intends to increase the productivity of traditional high-value crops and small livestock by constructing nine new irrigation schemes and rehabilitating three existing schemes.

The project also supports post-harvest processing and value addition by promoting agro-processing businesses and improved storage, access to finance and credit through local farmers’ organizations, establishment of youth groups and registered women’s groups, construction of rural roads and market outlets, strengthening of market linkages between farmers, processors, rural and urban consumers, and export markets.

[Team of engineers drawn from National and county government on sight visit in areas earmarked for well drilling in Galore sub-county. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

In Tana River County the government through Small Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP) has established sites in Galole constituency to contractors for drilling irrigation wells and establishment of ware pans at a cost of 150 million shillings.

Quenching the thirst

The successful bidders are expected to assemble their machinery and to commence the drilling of 12 shallow wells and construction of three water pans in Chifiri, Hakoka and Gururi areas within 14 days.

”We are handing over the sites to the winning bidders. The projects are worth 150M in the first phase. It will involve the drilling of 12 shallow wells and three water pans,’’ said Engineer Omari Josphat, SIVAP project manager.

The project is implemented by the state department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research. It is in 11 counties that include: Tana River, Makueni, Kajiado, Machakos

SIVAP aims at the reduction of poverty by enhancing agricultural productivity, income and food security in the eleven counties. Most of the counties are semi-arid and receive low to moderate rainfall.

The project will enhance irrigation infrastructures, water resource development and improved agricultural markets through the construction of roads in the communities.

“At the end of the project, we are expecting to have drilled 27 shallow wells, an access road, livestock yard and two market sheds in the Galole catchment area. The government will have injected close to 500M in Tana River,’’ said Engineer Josphat.

He added that they are expecting the beneficiaries to increase their productivity, as drought continues to ravage parts of the Tana River.

County Irrigation Engineer William Jillo said SIVAP has come to augment their efforts to make Tana River food resilience.

Tangible solution

“We have been experiencing challenges in farming. The project will improve our productivity. We will increase our acreage from 40 to 60 acres and use the water for domestic purposes too,’’ Harun Dhadho, beneficiary from Chewani ward said.

[A maize production under irrigation in Galole Sub-county where the government has pumped 150 million shillings for well drilling to boost food production through small scale irrigation. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

Since December 2020, the project has benefited 215,150 people, of whom 124,787 are women.

SIVAP has created 1,631 hectares with new irrigation and drainage services, 43,030 water users with new or improved/rehabilitated services; rehabilitated 175 kilometers of roads, installed six private or public-private agro-processing and quality control facilities.

SIVAP has been funded by a loan from Africa Development Bank (AfDB), a grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) and the Government of Kenya.