PS State Department for Irrigation Mr Ephantus Kimotho visited Thiba Dam, Mwea Irrigation Scheme and the expansion area in Kirinyaga County on July 10, 2023. He was accompanied by area County Commissioner Tobiko Naiyoma, Hon. Mary Maingi Mp Mwea, Kirinyaga Women Rep Hon. Njeri Maina, Senator Hon. Kamau Murango Irrigation Secretary Aboud Moeva and Yatich Kipkemei, Secretary Administration, State Department for Irrigation. He was received by National Irrigation Authority Chairman Eng.Gilbert Maluki, Acting CEO Eng. Charles Muasya and other senior officials from National Government, National Irrigation Authority and County Government.

Mwea Irrigation Scheme has a gazetted area of 30,350 acres and an Irrigated Area of 30,600 Acres (20,000 Acres in the main Scheme and 10,600 Acres in Expansion Areas). It gets its water from rivers Nyamindi and Thiba. The Scheme has 14,850 farmers and they are already realizing the benefits of Thiba Dam among them increased area under irrigation from 20,000 to 30,600, stabilization of irrigation water supply for the Scheme and supporting double cropping, putting 70,000 acres under irrigation in a year

The increase in rice production has increased the value of production from 10 billion to 18 billion annually and created an additional 50,000 jobs leading to a cumulative 175,000 jobs in a year. Additionally, over 13 large private Mills have come up for rice value addition and baling of rice straws as fodder for livestock in the region. To date, Thiba Dam has supported 30,600 acres in the last 2 seasons for production. The estimated rice production of the financial year 2023/24 is 131,760 metric tons.

The construction of Thiba Dam commenced in November 2018 and was completed in April 2022, having taken a commendable 41 months as opposed to its initial plan of 44 months and saving Ksh. 400 million from the amount budgeted for the project. The project scope of Thiba Dam encompassed river diversion works, dam embankment works, dam reservoir, spillway works, outlet works, sand trap dam, dam instrumentation, access and inspection roads, intake and control structures.

Mwea Irrigation Development Project Packege II (Lot 1 & 2) implementation is 70% complete. The PS commended the project’s execution and the scheme mechanisation through the use of rice combine harvesters, which minimises post-harvest losses.

In order to avoid seepage and water loss, he urged the contractors to speed up the implementation of Mwea Irrigation Development Project Package II (Lot 1 &2 ) and complete it within the expected timelines. Completion of the canals in package II will ensure additional area is put under irrigation for enhanced food production of rice in line with Government’s Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda