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The construction of intake works, canals and project access roads by the National Irrigation Authority in Rapsu irrigation project rescued the residents of Garbatulla in August 2013. Before this project, farmers struggled to access water points, not only walking several kilometres for it, but they were also at risk of wildlife attacks.

About 450 kilometres from Nairobi lies Rapsu Irrigation Project, a 200-acre project along the gentle slopes of Nyambene Hills. It is situated in Garbatulla and draws its water from River Bisanadi.

Mr Abdinassir Ware is the Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) chairman in this project and also a beneficiary. Mr Ware has a two-acre farm where he plants paw-paws in one acre and onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes in the other acre. He sells his pawpaws to a fruit company in Meru County. The rest of his farm produce is sold in Garbatulla. Through this, he has been able to educate his children and provide his family with basic needs.

Aside from water, he says technological know-how was also a challenge. However, Mr. Ware is thankful that the Authority not only provided irrigation water to him and his community, but the NIA sent experts to teach them how to cultivate crops of their choice. “The Rapsu Irrigation Project has provided a livelihood to the locals in Garbatulla. It has also provided jobs for the youth, and as a result, crime rates in the area have dropped considerably,” Mr. Ware explains.

They are no longer reliant on neighbouring villages for food, but instead produce enough to eat and sell the surplus in the Isiolo-South Constituency and nearby communities. Agricultural production, he explained, has a big growth impact on the economy and that it has a multiplier effect when production is stable, reliable, and predictable.