Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi says his county government is ready to run the one million acres multi-billion shilling Galana-Kulalu Irrigation Scheme.
Speaking at Kidutani grounds in Mwarakaya ward after inspecting county funded projects, Mr Kingi said the national government has failed to manage the Sh7 billion project and it is time the county government is given the mandate to run and manage it.
He said the project has become a white elephant.
“I want to tell President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee administration that I am ready to take over the management of the Galana-Kulalu irrigation project after they failed to manage it,” said the governor.
He said the irrigation project was one of the many projects which the national government is using a lot of money funding the project only for it to perform poorly.
“Three years ago, the President called me and my Tana River counterpart Hussein Dado to Galana-Kulalu where he asked us to [provide] a one million-acre [piece of] land for a big agricultural project the national government wanted to undertake,” said Mr Kingi.
The governor added that he asked the President to hand over the implementation of the project to the county government since the agriculture docket had been devolved but the President insisted that it was an initiative of the national government and was to be carried under his supervision.
“Because the President assured us that the project would end food insecurity and that no Kenyan would be affected by hunger after its first harvest, I obliged but, unfortunately, the project is simply a white elephant. All the expectations we had on it have evaporated,” he said.
The governor said there is need for the President to explain the fate of the Sh7 billion pumped into the project with only 10,000 acres of land being cultivated, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres unattended.
“Had I been given the Sh7 billion to oversee the project, I could have well managed it and Kilifi and the coastal region could not be facing (the) serious food shortage we are witnessing at the moment.
"We want an explanation on the huge funding that resulted in a shoddy irrigation project that did not meet the expectations of the people,” he said.
“I want to tell the President that I am ready to take over the project and its full funding and rest assured, while in my control, there will be no case of food insecurity that will be reported in Kilifi County and the Coast region as a whole,” added the governor.