National Irrigation Board has said that completion of the Galana-Kulalu Irrigation would be delayed for another two months due to infrastructural challenges. The project termed to be an ambitious scheme was launched in 2014 as a one million acre model farm. At that time, the cost of the irrigation was estimated at KES 260 billion though the initial model cost was USD 165 million. This was to be split between the Kenyan government and Israeli partners.
It involves three phases in Phase 1 entails the establishment of a 10,000 acre model farm to demonstrate the use of high water use efficiency technologies which will be replicated in the rest of the irrigation area in the project. Phase II will see the development of a 2 billion m3 dam and main conveyance system for 500,000 acres. Phase III will involve the development of major roads, airport, railway lines and other infrastructure (www.nib.or.ke).
Preliminary plans called for 10,000 acres to be under cultivation by 2017. This would then lead to the farm producing over 40 million bags of maize increasing Kenya’s maize growing capacity. Also 500,000 acres of land would be put under maize production, planned cultivation of 20,000 acres of sugarcane, 150,000 acres to beef and game animals, 50,000 acres to horticulture, 50,000 acres to dairy farming and the remaining 50,000 acres to fruit growing.
Further, the government plans to construct a dam at the irrigation project to ensure that it doesn’t run out of water. This will be effective in water management and will allow acreage to increase to almost half a million. At the same time, the private sector is expected to take up the management of the scheme next year with the second phase of putting up 30,000 acres of land under crop. In October 2015, first crop harvesting was done and 20,000 bags of maize were harvested from 160,000 acres of land by Green Arava.