Initial planting of maize in the one-million-acre Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme is set to begin this week. Green Arava, Israel firm which won the KES14bn tender will develop the model farm by first planting maize crop on 1,000 acres of the land. The model farm estimated at 10,000 acres is being used as a demonstration unit for the project’s opportunities.
Government expects that the first maize crop harvesting from the project will be in August as it will take three months to mature and will be processed on the farm. The contractor has already ordered for a milling plant from South Africa to process maize flour. The plant will come with a dryer making it easy to contain cases of afflatoxin that are common in the area given its humid condition.
Green Arava plans for a minimum of 80 bags of maize from an acre under good farming practices borrowed from Israel. Pivot equipment has also been installed on the farm to irrigate crops and apply liquid fertiliser.
The Galana-Kulalu Food Project, located in the Coast region, is a public–private partnership worth KES260bn in which the government and private investors are providing infrastructural services envisioned to plant crops and set up processing plants.
The exercise was scheduled to start last week but was hampered by the rains that have been thumping the region recently. The Galana-Kulalu project is intended to boost food security, employment opportunities and create wealth across East Africa.
Since the mega project was launched last year, several key achievements have been registered. These include, 200km bush clearing, grading of 150km graded and 87km murram. Others are the rehabilitation of Danisa and Galana River Lodge airstrips and the rehabilitation of 33 water pans of which 19 are complete, with a capacity ranging from 15,000 to 120,000 cubic metres each.