The parliamentary committee on Agriculture has given the green light to the one million acre Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme, approval that comes as a relief to the National Irrigation Board (NIB) that has over the years been at pains to defend the project’s viability.
The chairperson of the committee, Ali Adan Haji , said from what the committee had seen at the 10,000 acre pilot farm, the project is viable and can play a major role in boosting food security in the country.
“A lot has been said about Galana with negative publicity. However, from what we have seen, I can confidently say that as a committee, we shall fully support this project in the next phase,” said Mr Haji.
The legislator also asked Kenyans to give the project time before starting to query its value for money, “given its capital- intensive nature”.
Recently, Israeli contractor Green Arava pulled out of the project, citing non-payment, a claim that NIB has refuted.
The MPs asked the board to move with speed to resolve the row to avoid stalling the project.
Irrigation principal secretary Fred Segor said the two parties are already engaging in talks to try and settle the issues by next month.
The project has fallen behind schedule as it was supposed to have been completed and opened on large scale to the private sector.
So far the model farm is 85 percent complete.
About 1, 500 acres are currently under maize crop, with harvesting expected to start in September. NIB expects to get about 30 bags per acre.