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Economy

Israel wants Galana contractor reinstated

Galana Kulalu
Maize farm at Galana Kulalu in Tana River County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government of Israel has ramped up efforts to have their contractor reinstated to work on at the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme, even as it seeks to start additional model farms aimed at addressing Kenya’s food insecurity.

Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Kenya Eyal David said they have had discussions with the Kilifi and Tana River counties, where the scheme falls, as well as ministries of water and devolution, adding that all is set for the resumption of activities by an Israeli contactor on the farm should an agreement be reached.

The National Irrigation Board (NIB) had taken over the works at the 10,000 acre farm last year after falling out with the contractor Green Arava, over payment issues.

“We have held discussion over the matter with the necessary authority and the Israeli contractor will be resuming the works soon at the scheme,” said Mr David. “Galana-Kulalu project is Israeli’s flagship project here in Kenya and it is close to the hearts of President Uhuru Kenyatta and our Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, so there is no way it can collapse.” Mr David also said they are planning to start other model farms in semi-arid areas to help make Kenya a food secure country with enhanced productivity.

He said they want to see the project move from a model farm to commercial stage, pointing out that that is key to ensuring food security in the country.

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The dispute between irrigation agency and Green Arava arose from the Sh1 billion that the contractor is claiming to be owed by NIB, which on its part says that it’s excess of the actual figure of Sh200 million.

The project has lagged behind the schedule as it was supposed to have been completed by now and opened in large scale to private sector. So far the model farm is 85 percent complete.

About 2,000 acres are currently under maize crop in a first project that is being implemented by NIB.

since they took over from the contractor.

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