The government has expanded Katilu Irrigation Scheme in Turkana from 500 acres to 2,000 in what is expected to enhance food security.
The scheme, which is managed by the National irrigation Board (NIB), will benefit 35,000 households in the hunger- prone county.
Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Sigor says the project is expected to yield over 100,000 bags of maize among other crops, which will go a long way in alleviating hunger.
“We would have expanded this project long ago but we were waiting for the local community to show interest, which they have done. This expansion will go a long way in making this county food secure,” said Prof Sigor.
He asked Turkana County to support the efforts of the national government to fight hunger in the region.
At Katilu, which is in Turkana South, farmers harvest between 25 to 30 bags per acre every planting season which is way above the national average of 20 bags, thanks to the available water at the scheme and good agronomical practices.
Turkana is one of the counties with the highest number of irrigation schemes.
It is home to 17 irrigation schemes but only four of them are functional while others are “dead” despite the devolved government pumping in millions of shillings.
Katilu scheme was started in 1966 but came into operation in 1970 through a joint effort by the Ministry of Agriculture, which provided recurrent costs and the Food and Agricultural Organisation which provided capital cost and technical personnel. Farmers grow maize, sorghum and millet and have signed contracts with the World Food Programme where they sell their produce.
This has ensured a ready market for their crop.
The scheme chairman Milton Loito said even as the rest of Turkana is suffering from hunger, for them they have sufficient to eat and sell for income.
“We have just had of hunger in the other regions of Turkana but for us we have enough for consumption,” said Mr Loito.