SWAMPY FIELDS TURNED INTO FARMLANDS
Water is a valuable resource that if used properly will make Kenya a food-secure nation. To achieve its vision of delivering water to every irrigable acre, the Authority has continuously used every opportunity and available drop to increase area under irrigation.
A case in point is the Bunyala Irrigation Scheme’s Magavera expansion area that draws its waters from the Yala swamp and River Nzoia’s main drain. The Authority conducted a study to determine the suitability of the swampy farms with a goal of using them for irrigation. Undertaken by the Authority’s Ahero Irrigation Research Station, the studies confirmed that the water quality is safe for food production and subsequent release to the lake.
The Bunyala Irrigation Scheme embraced irrigating with waters from its drain canal. The quest to manage the water and control floods, which have threatened the residents for decades, gave rise to this innovation.
In October 2021, irrigation infrastructure installation started and, in addition to expanding the Bunyala Irrigation Scheme’s Magavera area by 600 acres, this innovation also controlled the pumping costs. Since June 2022, 400 acres have been under production, giving a total of 765.25 tonnes of rice currently.
“We are collaborating closely with the farmers, who are very enthusiastic and are committed to this project, and together we are achieving high yields of, on average, 50 bags of 80kg per acre,” Eng. Edwin Manyonge, the Bunyala Scheme Manager, said.
After the National Irrigation Authority started rice farming in the former swampy areas, the Magavera farmers are ecstatic and report reaping big.
“This project has been very beneficial to me. I used to lease farms in the main Bunyala Irrigation Scheme and now I am able to produce food from my farm,” Nyangi Maina, a farmer in Magavera said. “Through doing commercial rice farming, I am able to feed my family, send my kids to school, and buy them clothes. I am hoping for continued growth in this area so I can acquire more farmland,” she adds.
“I appreciate the National Irrigation Authority’s support and have very high expectations for this project. By working together, we can even put more land into production. I’m hoping that this project will help future generations as well as myself,” Dennis Sikimu said.
The Authority is continuously empowering the farmers on the best farming and irrigation practices.
Did you know that you can adopt this innovation by re-using water in your farm, including your kitchen garden? Instead of draining the water used for washing your vegetables into the kitchen sink how about use it to irrigate that kitchen garden in your backyard or balcony