Household irrigation projects have lifted food production in Machakos, cutting reliance on aid relief from the government.
Water and Irrigation Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki said the 360 water pans the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) constructed have boosted food security in the dry region.
“The community here that relied on food aid before, is not only able to grow their food but also produce vegetables, French beans and chillies for both export and domestic market,” said Mrs Kariuki.
She said the water pan project would be implemented in other areas across the country in future but currently, 31 counties have benefited.
“The government through the NIA is aiming at constructing 125,000 household irrigation water storage facilities ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 cubic metres by 2022,” said Ms Kariuki.
The pans in Yatta can hold 504,353 cubic metres of water, enough to supply households in the region.
The government also wants to rehabilitate about 4,000 existing water pans and small dams with an average capacity of 100,000 cubic metres and a cumulative volume of 400,000,000 cubic metres by 2022.
The irrigation agency engineers working closely with local administration and opinion leaders are identifying the sites for construction of the pans.
NIA general manager Gitonga Mugambi said the project is aimed at increasing food production through small-scale irrigation practices.
“It is also expected to create employment opportunities with one acre creating five direct jobs and three indirect ones.
“There will be a reduction of rural to urban migration by the youth in search of jobs as well as an increase to an annual contribution to GDP (gross domestic product),” he said.