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When Mr. Mathenge ventured into Hass avocado farming, he knew he would make a killing out of it. He just didn’t know how much it would be. The farmer grows Hass avocado on seven and a half acres up from the initial three as a result of Kaagari Kyeni Gaturi Irrigation Project implemented by the National Irrigation Authority in Embu County. Initially, he relied on a nearby swamp and rainfall as his source of water.

“Land was not a problem. My brother and I have a big piece of arable land and with the knowledge I have in tea farming, I knew where to start when venturing into Hass avocado farming,” Mr Mathenge says. Much as he would have loved to expand, the water limitation was a hurdle.</p.

Mr Mathenge says he started with 200 Hass avocado fruit trees from which he would make about KSh3.6 million annually and planned to increase the number to earn more since the crop had ready export market. He raised the number of trees to 600, which give him about Ksh10.8 million of annual earnings.

The farmer says that apart from water, the other challenge was lack of technical know-how. He is, however, grateful to the National Irrigation Authority who not only gave him and his community access to irrigation water but also brought in people to teach them how to grow crops of their choice in the region.

“Kaagari Kyeni Gaturi Irrigation Project has not only helped farmers around here to create wealth. It has also created employment for the young and as a result the crime rates in the area have significantly reduced,” says Mr Muchiri, the Irrigation Water Users Association chairman in Kaagari Kyeni Gaturi Irrigation Project.

They are no longer dependent on neighbouring communities for provision of food supplies but are now producing enough to consume and sell surplus in Runyenjes Constituency, neighbouring communities and export.

According to Eng. Charles Muasya, the Deputy General Manager in charge of Irrigation and Infrastructure Development at the National Irrigation Authority, 1, 248 acres have been put under irrigation through Kaagari, Kyeni Gaturi Irrigation Project. He affirms that the growth impact on the economy that agricultural production has is very strong and has a multiplier effect on the condition that production is steady, reliable and predictable. Only irrigation can provide for this considering the unreliable rainfall patterns in the country, hence the National Irrigation Authority’s focus to ensure every irrigable acre has water.