Irrigation Takes Center Stage in Bid for Food Security, Economic Growth

The Kenya Kwanza Manifesto, led by President William Ruto, prioritizes production as a key factor in the country’s growth and development agenda. Recognizing agriculture as a driving force, the manifesto focuses on addressing water scarcity through the implementation of nationwide irrigation infrastructure.

This strategy aims to tackle chronic food insecurity, volatile food prices, and shortages during droughts, all of which are exacerbated by climate change.

The manifesto outlines a plan to build dams across the country to provide a dedicated water source for irrigation-based agriculture. This infrastructure push will be led by the National Irrigation Authority, which was previously known as the National Irrigation Board.

The authority would be moved from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Water, indicating a greater emphasis on water resource management to support agricultural productivity.

The decision to move the state corporation for irrigation from the agriculture ministry to the water ministry has been questioned by Dr. John Mutunga, Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Committee. He cites eligibility concerns saying that the Irrigation Authority fits the agriculture sector as it goes hand in hand with the need for increased food production.

Hon.Dr. John K. Mutunga, Member of Parliament for Tigania West Constituency

He has called for the Irrigation department to be transferred back to the agriculture docket. The Kenya Kwanza plan aims to construct about 100 mega dams and more than 500 smaller earth dams to effectively implement irrigation plans throughout the country.

Dr. John Mutunga, Tigania West MP, has emphasized the urgency of aligning all the necessary elements to increase agricultural yields, including water, quality seed, and soil health. He also stresses the important role of irrigation in addressing water deficiency caused by the climate crisis.

Dr. Mutunga highlights the potential benefits of investment in water projects for the agriculture sector, emphasizing the urgency of moving the irrigation department to the agriculture ministry.

He also mentions the expansion of the National Irrigation Authority’s mandate and roles through the Irrigation Act 2019, which aims to ensure water delivery to every irrigable acre in the country and develop irrigation infrastructure for nationwide food production.

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