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West Pokot signs Sh2.5bn deal for irrigation scheme

West Pokot County has signed a Sh2.5 billion ($30 million) agreement with the Energy Conservation Measures Solutions (ECM) to set up an irrigation scheme in the lower parts of the county.

The project that is estimated to benefit more than 15,000 people will be located in Swam and Kacheliba areas.

West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin said the county government had partnered with the American government to help improve food security.

Mr Kachapin added that the two areas had fertile soils, good for food production.

“The two locations have thousands of land that is idle and can be cultivated to produce enough food for both local consumption and commercial purposes,” he said, adding that sorghum and soya beans would be cultivated under irrigation in the 15,000 acres available.

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“Since independence residents of this county have been depending on relief food and with devolved government in place we want to ensure this county is self reliant in food production,” he added.

Mr Kachapin said the county government is seeking to partner with other organisations to see that the county has surplus food for selling, while linking farmers to markets.

“There is a high demand for sorghum at Kenya Breweries Company and the county government will help link the farmers to the company,” he said.

Mr Kachapin called on the residents to own the project to help improve their living standards.

“The project will help improve infrastructure in the areas since we shall be forced to improve road network for easy transportation of the produce to markets,” he said.

ECM chief operations officer Robert Oakley said the firm was going to start on the project starting next week. Once completed, the scheme would be handed over to the community, who will manage it.

The scheme will tap water from river Swam. This will be the second irrigation scheme in the county after Wei Wei Irrigation Scheme where maize is grown.

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