The National Irrigation Authority is the lead agency in the development of large scale irrigation projects, small-scale community managed irrigation projects and expansion of public irrigation schemes through construction and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure.
Large Scale Irrigation Projects
The Irrigation Act 2019 defines large-scale irrigation scheme as schemes whose area is above 3,000 acres. Towards this end, the Authority has seen successful operation of the largest irrigation scheme – Mwea irrigation scheme. A number of large scale projects have been identified for implementation. These projects eventually translate to strategic irrigation projects that will be the key food security projects in respective counties. These projects have been conceptualized around the available water resources to meet crop water requirements for projects covering a large area.
Smallholder/Community Managed Irrigation Projects
These are schemes that are owned and managed by the communities with an aim of boosting their agricultural production. Smallholder Irrigation Schemes are either initiated by the Government, development partners or farmers. In line with the Irrigation Act 2019, the sector at the national level, is responsible for smallholder irrigation schemes with acreage range from 100 to 3,000 acres. The projects are quick wins in irrigation development because the implementation cycle is short from identification, design and construction.
The structures are fairly small making them easy to build, operate and maintain. They can also be implemented in regions with fairly limited water resource and can use different water sources including major rivers, streams, and boreholes. These projects are well distributed in various counties across the country. The sector has earmarked 610 projects with a total area of 531,574 acres. Currently, the Authority has been implementing this cluster of projects under the National Expanded Irrigation Programme.
Expansion of Public Irrigation Schemes
To realize more acreage and achieve food security in Kenya, the Authority is undertaking expansion and modernization of public irrigation schemes. This will see the irrigation area increase