Press Releases and Articles



Since time immemorial, people of Tana River have been identified with pastoralism. However, this is changing on realizing the potential of irrigated agriculture thanks to National Irrigation Authority’s presence in the region. Slowly, they are taking up farming while keeping animals, only now closer home because the water provided for irrigation is also tapped for livestock and other household needs.

“It is a wonder that even our semi-arid region can accommodate farming,” said Ali Bare, a pastoralist now cropping cotton.

Mr James K. Kirigia, the Manager, Tana Irrigation Scheme, said that the Authority provides water for irrigation and gives the farmers technical support and advice on crop farming. “Financial partners such as AFC, Equity Bank and KCB Bank fund the farmers, and they pay little-by-little after selling their produce,” Mr Kirigia said.</p.

Ramadhan Igu, a cotton farmer at Umoja Area 5 of Tana Irrigation Scheme, said the first time he tried cotton farming pests heavily attacked the crop, causing disappointment. But that did not hinder him from continuing. Together with other farmers, they were introduced to Bt cotton, which is pest resistant. They put 100 acres under cotton, and after three months, the results are much better than the first one.

“At this rate, Tana River County will soon be the largest producer of cotton”, said Ramadhan.

According to Mr Kirigia, more than 1,000 farmers have benefited from the irrigation water where varieties of crops are planted. About 100 acres in Tana Irrigation Scheme have been put under Bt cotton.

It is under a contract farming between the Scheme and Makueni Ginneries. Estimated yield per acre is between 2,500 to 3000kg, yield targets that will earn them KSh50 per kilogramme.

As stated by Mr. Kirigia, the Tana scheme produces average KSh126,082,000 annually under different productions: commercial maize (KSh30.50/kg, KSh82,782,000; green grams (KSh120.00/kg, KSh8,100,000; cow peas (KSh80.00/kg, KSh3,200,000; rice (KSh55.00/kg, KSh11, 000,000), horticulture (KSh18.00/kg, KSh13,500,000) and cotton (KSh50/kg, KSh7,500,000). This is in line with the Big 4 Agenda, especially on food and nutrition security.

The scheme, however, has other crops, including commercial maize covering 1,800 acres, green grams under 150, cowpeas 50, rice on 100 and other horticultural crops having a 50-acre coverage.</p.