Press Releases and Articles



Mr Peter Kimathi and his wife Esther Wangari are baby corn farmers under the Mutaro irrigation project in Laikipia County. “Since we got this project, water has been sufficient. I am cropping baby corn which compared to maize is more profitable. I have educated my four children through farming and now that they are all grown, we do not bother them to finance our lifestyle. In every two weeks, we are harvesting. Cash gets in every two weeks,” said Kimathi.

Kimathi explains that baby corn cobs are harvested manually after the silk appears on alternate days for one to three weeks. The return yield ranges from 15-25 tonnes per hectare or six to eight cobs per plant, he adds. Kimathi dreams of going international with this rare crop. “I am hoping I pass audit to enable me to go to the international market.”

The major crops planted by farmers in this project are maize, beans and horticultural crops but farmers are intensifying as shown by the Kimathis.

Irrigated baby corns are expected to be a game-changer since an acre will fetch upwards of 10 tonnes compared to conventional agriculture whose best is two tonnes an acre. Taking between 45 and 60 days to harvest, a kilo of this corn sells for between Sh100 and Sh200.

Ms Lucy Njeri, who is cropping onions, says since farmers “were honoured with this project by the Government through the National Irrigation Authority, we feel part and parcel of the economic development spurred by the Food Security and Nutrition basket of the Big 4 Agenda.” She continues: “We never lack water for farming. It has been enough for everyone for farming and domestic use. Security has also improved and I am creating employment to about 20 community members. As I benefit, the community is also benefiting.”

Mutaro Irrigation Project came to be after a self-help group registered on Certificate No. 1828 by the then Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services wrote to the National Irrigation Authority seeking the rehabilitation of a dilapidated irrigation canal. An environmental impact assessment was carried out in July, 2007 and was subsequently signed on July 18, 2007 by experts from Green Globe Foundation registered by the National Environment Management Authority.

Feasibility studies showed the project was feasible with little environmental strain. A topographical survey of the project was carried out on October 22, 2018, designs done a month later and the works began on June 9, 2019 and completed on December 5, 2020.

Scope of works included the main canal and branch canals that consisted of excavations as per the design profiles, concrete works, provision of sluice gates along selected areas, provision of foot across selected areas of the canal, construction of drop structures, Parshall flumes, dump bell with centre bulb contraction and divisional structures.

The Mutaro project is benefiting 1,000 households, ultimately profiting at least 10,000 people directly with at least 3,500 acres under irrigation.