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Committee calls for maximum utilisation of irrigation project – Kenya News Agency

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The parliamentary committee on regional development has urged farmers in Homa Bay County to improve production through the Sh 7.4 billion irrigation project that has been implemented in the region.

The committee, led by Vice Chair Mary Wamaua, said the project, dubbed the Kimira Oluch Smallholder Farm Improvement Project (KOSFIP), was a boon for farmers in Karachuonyo and Rangwe constituencies to improve production.

Wamaua noted that the project, which was initiated in 2006, has so far cost the government over Ksh7.3 billion. It covers 3685 acres (1474 hectares), which are subdivided into 97 irrigation blocks.

The project is aimed at enabling farmers to grow various crops in an effort to boost food security in the county. It was funded by the national government and the African Development Bank.

Wamaua said that her committee was concerned that farmers have not fully utilised the project.

Wamaua told farmers to fully utilise the project effectively to enable them to be economically empowered.

Speaking today when the committee toured the project, the Vice Chair said that they expect more farmers to use the project waters.

They were accompanied by Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) Chief Executive Officer Wycliffe Ochiaga during the project inspection in Karachuonyo Constituency.

She said the irrigation infrastructure could enable more farmers to irrigate their crops. “Farmers are trying to utilise this project, but the general view is that the project is underutilized. I challenge all farmers in this region to utilise this project to transform their lives.” Wamaua said.

She noted that some minor civil work was still remaining, but that should not be a hindrance to any farmer.

The comments were echoed by Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga, who told the farmers to embrace modern farming methods.

Kalasinga noted that the project can only meet its objective if the farmers embrace it.

“The government can construct all the canals like the ones it has done. But it is upon a farmer to decide whether to use the water for growing crops. The government cannot do everything for farmers. We want to see farmers putting more effort into using this project to grow crops,” Kalasinga said.

He urged farmers to work closely with the LBDA to seek advice on how to grow various crops using the project.

Karachuonyo MP Adipo Okuome urged the LBDA to come up with solar for pumping water into farms situated on raised grounds.

This came after they discovered that farmers with land on raised grounds cannot access the water via the canals because it is pumped against gravitational force.

The MP also called for the deployment of field extension officers to assist farmers in the area in learning how to grow various crops.

“I urge the LBDA to introduce solar pumping of water to farmers with farms on raised grounds. The county government should also deploy agricultural extension officers to help these farmers because we work as a team to serve the people,” Okuome said.

By Davis Langat

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