Kenya is set to expand the Ahero irrigation scheme by an additional 2,500 acres in order to ameliorate the production of rice in the country.
The expansion project is expected to yield about 11,000 metric tons of rice worth over Sh500 million annually.
It will be carried out by the National Irrigation Authority, after a release of Sh80 Million by the government to open up area under rain-fed and irrigated rice.
Ahero is said to be the second-largest irrigation scheme in Kenya and it is expected to boost agricultural activities in the region – which has an estimated 490,000 acres.
West Kenya Irrigation Schemes Manager, Joel Tanui, said that the scheme which was operationalised in 1969 would experience a paradigm shift as a result of this boost.
He added that the scheme has grown over the years to cover about 13,000 acres of land, while benefitting at least 7,000 farmers.
The irrigation project, he said, will incorporate over 2500 farmers in the region.
He said, “The ongoing expansion has created more jobs to locals who now take up jobs like weeding, planting, and harvesting.
“We are looking to bring in farmers from Mbega and Kobong’o schemes within the larger Kano Plains in a project which is also expected to alleviate the perennial floods that have hit the region”.
Tanui revealed that the situation had worsened due to the backflow of water from Lake Victoria for almost a year, hence the need for expansion.
He said that this project would capacitate farmers to increase their output per acre and also reduce the unit cost of production.