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ici maintenant & toujours
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It is really refreshing to see maize crop already doing very well. It should have the ability to reduce the cost of food all year round since with irrigation you can plant new crop virtually every month.

Next is to introduce fruit and veggies...
 

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MPs want Sh14bn food scheme shelved

This is depressing news. A once promising project may end up dying.

By JOHN NJAGI

MPs want the Sh14 billion Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme in Tana River suspended terming it a failure.

The National Assembly’s agriculture committee said officials involved in procuring feasibility studies of the project should be investigated.

The plan was to improve food production by switching from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation.

Agriculture ministry officials have said the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate the loss of more than Sh100 million, after the cost of a feasibility study awarded to an Israeli firm, Agri-green, was reportedly inflated from Sh793 million to Sh923 million.

“The project has been a waste of taxpayers’ funds. It should be suspended and the officials investigated for the loss of public funds,” said the committee’s chairman, Mr Mohammed Nooru.

The government was to irrigate one million acres of arid land.

This would help take care of shrinking agricultural land amid a rising demand for food due to a growing population.

Mr Nooru, who is also the Mandera East MP, criticised the government for proceeding with the project against the committee’s advice.

STATE CRITICIZED
The team had recommended that the project be put on hold since it had been poorly executed.

The government was criticised for single-sourcing a company to put in place a demonstration farm on 10,000 acres out of the 800,000 acres under the scheme.

After a feasibility study, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute had declared the 800,000 acres in the area viable for agriculture.

Committee Vice-Chairman Kareke Mbiuki said the contract for the model farm was awarded in a record one week.

He said the rush was due to an agreement between the Kenyan and Israeli governments.

The lawmakers said despite the National Treasury having so far pumped Sh7 billion, half of the entire budget, into the project, only 20 per cent of the projected results had been realised, three months before the deadline for the completion of the work.

“The whole project has been bungled,” said Mr Mbiuki, who is also the Maara MP.
http://www.nation.co.ke/news/MPs-wa...shelved/-/1056/2983512/-/6vp55qz/-/index.html
 

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Too bad politics carrues the day in Kenya.Politicians are want to stop all major projects merely so that they can stand up in 2017 and say the govt failed! If these guys were sincere, then they would come up with recommendations to "correct"the problems and make the project a success. And by the way some varieties yielded as much as 40 bags an acre but these damn politicians are going to call it a failure coz some varieties yielded 10 bags an acre??And they only tried maize and already want to kill the project?Come on!May lightening strike these greedy goons and kill them before they kill this project.Tired to see africans dying due perennial starvation caused by some greedy bafoons.
 

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will government do everything or will they invite private guys to farm. I just don't trust government
Only Kilifi and Tana River people can farm that land beside govt(via ADC), other Kenyans or foreigners will have a hard time considering it is not their "ancestral land". I remember in 2009, Qatar would have financed Lamu port but their request to lease 40,000ha in Tana Delta was rejected.
 

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House Committee which had suspended the project last year wants the model farm completed by September and handed over to private players



Members of Parliament want the 10,000 acre demonstration farm under the Galana irrigation scheme completed by September this year and handed over to the private sector.

The National Assembly committee on Livestock and Agriculture who had suspended the project last year, said it supports the reviewed work plan by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

Under Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, the project has been reviewed phasing out the some of its components to cut costs down to Sh7.2 billion from Sh14 billion.

Some of the components that have been omitted include, maize milling factory, school, police station, greenhouses, vegetable packing and cold rooms.

“We suspended the project last year, but the new team has gone back to the drawing board and assured us they can deliver. Being a model farm we thought they should have moved with speed,” Parliament’s Agriculture committee chairman Adan Noor said when the MPs visited the farm on Friday.

Since the project was initiated it has cost taxpayers Sh2.5 billion with 1,000 acres coming under irrigation.

Last September, 770 tonnes of maize was harvested from the initial 500 acres and transported to the National Cereals and Produce Board Depots in Voi and Nairobi for further drying and storage.

INSTALL PUMPS

According to the new plan, the National Irrigation Board will harvest the second block of 500 acres next month then plant two 500-acre blocks between March and June and install 12 centre pivots complete with the associated pipelines to serve 2000 acres by September this year. Also to be installed are five vertical pumps to cover 2,500 acres and a further three pumps that will cover 1,500 acres.

“What we want is the implementation of the demonstration farm to asses the production costs and hand over by September,” Mr Noor said.

The Agriculture Committee chair said they had been concerned that the implementation of the model irrigation farm had taken longer than expected.

He also said the committee was keen to assess the cost-effectiveness of the project stating that they will review the project based on results of the second harvest expected next month.

The model farm has been testing 13 varieties of maize and Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa say they produced varying results with the best performing variety producing 39 bags per acre while the lowest yielding variety produced 5 bags per acre.

The six best varies have been selected and planted in the next 500 acres and Mr Wamalwa said they will be narrowing down on three varieties in the next cycle.

According to NIB, the total cost per acre of the first crop was Sh33,000 and based on the highest yielding variety the cost of production per 90 kg bag was Sh846.
 

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Hopefully when this project is over we won't have to import maize again. If they share the information with farmers then we should be able to produce more at cheaper costs
I'm actually hoping that they use most of this land for alternative crops like rice and horticulture (including flowers)..i.e cash crops that would be exported. I feel like we would be self sufficient(maize) if we put cash/ modernize farming practices in the traditional maize belt. Its a great project but we really need to invest in processing plants.A lot of our foods esp fruits and vegetables go to waste during peak seasons.
 

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Galana food project to get additional funding


The Israeli firm contracted by Kenya to undertake trials for the Galana-Kulalu food security project will get funding in the next few weeks.

Green Arava had been facing cash flow problems that had delayed the project which was due to be completed in March this year.

The government is pushing the firm to deliver the 10,000 acre model farm by July ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit and Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the financing arrangements to facilitate it, have now been concluded.

The government has received approval from treasury to start drawing the Sh7.2 billion loan from the Israeli government even as President Uhuru Kenyatta signed agreements for further development assistance on Tuesday.

Green Arava Water and soil engineer, Gideon Kedar told the Nation the company had not received payments in the last 7 months but with the new developments, they are looking to access the crucial fund in a matter of weeks.

“We are aware the process is well advanced and once we get the money, we will be able to complete the project in under nine months,” Mr Kedar said.

According to the National Irrigation Board, who are implementing the project, it has cost tax payers Sh2.5 billion since it was initiated.

The model firm is supposed to be funded by the loan from the Israeli government which was not drawn due to contentions in Parliament. Israel is also providing an additional grant of Sh3.5 billion for training.

The government says it now has an option of drawing only Sh5 billion from the loan or renegotiating with Israel to extend the project.

The facility is a 15 year loan agreement on 2.3 per cent interest, which the government considers a good bargain.

The project has received a boost after the parliamentary committee on Agriculture threw its weight behind it.

National Assembly committee on Livestock and Agriculture has been reviewing the project after it suspended it in December last year over concerns on costs.

The committee recommended that the multi-billion shilling Jubilee flagship project be suspended and re-evaluated rushing to make public their recommendations on the Galana-Kulalu food security project even before submitting it in parliament.

The Committee Vice Chair Karike Mbiuki told journalists that they were satisfied with the capacity of Green Arava after touring their establishments in Israel.

RESERVATIONS

We had our reservations as to how the project was designed, Kenyans were not aware of the true picture and essence of the project. However the misconceptions have been put to rest,” Mr Mbiuki said in Israel during President Kenyatta’s state visit.

Mr Mbiuki said the committee had issue with costing which was addressed with the review of the whole project under the Water and Irrigation Ministry.

By omitting the Maize milling factory, school, police station, greenhouses, vegetable packing and cold rooms, the Water and Irrigation ministry says, the cost will come down to Sh7.2 billion from the initial Sh14 billion.

Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the government will focus on irrigation and let the private sector invest in the other utilities.

Green Arava also want access to the project improved to reduce delays in fertilizer and chemicals during rainy seasons.

The government is keen on inking prospective deals during President Kenyatta’s visit and Mr Wamalwa said support from parliament is key in attracting investors to the project when it is opened to the public in September this year.

He said that his Ministry had gotten overwhelming interests in the irrigation project from several local and international firms.

The Galana project is expected to cut Kenya’s reliance on rain-fed agriculture that is blamed for the perennial food shortage by employing technology to cut cost of food production.

The jubilee government wants to develop 500,000 acres of the vast Galana/Kulalu ranch which covers an area of 1.78 million acres but with the irrigation potential estimated to be 1.2 million acres.

Galana River can only irrigate between 20,000 acres but with a dam, it will be able to irrigate about half a million acres.
 

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President Visiting Kibbutz Kalia near the Dead Sea where Kenyan students are learning dryland farming and automated agriculture














Kenya will send more students to learn dryland farming technologies and automated agriculture in Israel, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced today.
The President said the experience of Israelis in harnessing harsh and dry lands to produce crops will be utilised to increase food production in Kenya.

The President said since 70 per cent of Kenya’s land was arid, it was prudent to send more students to Israel besides those who are already studying in Israeli institutions.

He said a decision to send more students and open up more Israeli institutions to Kenyan learners was reached on Tuesday when he held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Kenyatta spoke when he visited a Kibbutz where more than 70 Kenyan students are learning new farming technologies.

University students make up the bulk of those in Israel with 25 students each from Egerton University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The University students are on an 11 month training course. The rest of the students are from the Kenya Water Institute (KEWI).

The Kenyan students are learning intensive agriculture productions techniques, design and application of automated agriculture and irrigation systems.

President Kenyatta said the knowledge learnt by the students will be used to revolutionise agriculture in Kenya starting with the Galana-Kulalu Irrigation Scheme where the students will first apply their skills.


“A desert can truly be a paradise if we are committed. This place is drier than any part of Kenya but look at what they produce,” said President Kenyatta who was taken on a tour of organic tomato farms and a section of the Kibbutz for dairy cows.

He urged the students to take seriously the lessons they learn while in Israel because Kenya is waiting for their expertise. The President said the Galana-Kulalu scheme will be ready to absorb the students when the first group returns in a few months time.

President Kenyatta said the scheme would now have been productive were it not for the misplaced priorities of Kenyan politicians. The President said Kenyan politicians have the habit of prioritising personal and tribal competitions instead of putting the interest of the country before everything else.

The Galana-Kulalu scheme was delayed for more than three years by obstacles created by politicians.
 

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Galana harvesting of 2nd crop & rolling out the planting of the 10,000 acre model farm














Checking out the newly installed pumping & irrigation equipment at Galana before planting











Launching the planting of the 10,000 acre model farm in Galana after starting the 2nd harvest











 

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Irrigation agency starts work on 10,000ha model farm at Galana-Kulalu scheme

From today's Business Daily, Economy & Politics section pg 6, and also online...

Irrigation agency starts work on 10,000ha model farm at Galana-Kulalu scheme

By GERALD ANDAE
Posted Sunday, April 24 2016 at 20:16

National Irrigation Board (NIB) has started developing the 10,000-acre model farm at Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme ahead of the visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 5 for official launch.

The start of the project follows successful field trials to determine the best variety seed to plant on the farm.

The project, currently behind schedule due to insufficient allocation of funds by the exchequer, has been launched by Water Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, paving the way for the growing of maize on the entire model farm at one go.

According to NIB, which is implementing the project, 4,000 acres is being targeted by the end of June, ahead of the planned launch.
Israel is the major financier of the model farm having provided Sh7 billion loan. The plan is one of Jubilee government’s flagship projects, which are supposed to be delivered within five years of its first term.

“We are now ready to plant the entire 10,000 acres after successful trials to find the right seed to plant in this region,” said Thuita Mwangi, chief engineer, planning and design, at the NIB.

The new development happens amid confusion at the NIB following the suspension of the top management, including the General Manager Daniel Barasa on alleged corrupt deals in procurement.

READ: Netanyahu set to unveil Galana-Kulalu scheme

NIB projects to plant 2,000 acres of maize every month and it intends to complete the entire 10,000 acres by September as the laying of pipes and clearing of bush has been concluded... Read the entire article here.
 

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Galana Kulalu Food security Project on the 10,000Acre model farm







The automatic self cleaning filtration system that filters approx 5000cubic meters per hour now working









2000 acres under Maize and with addition of pumps & centre pivots will achieve greater acreage







Inspecting the one week old maize crop under production







Inspecting the 3 weeks old maize under production







Fresh planted maize under production & clearing of stones by locals







Impressed with Punda Milia seed variety that promises better yield harvest









 

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They should encourage the private sector to set up food processing factories to be built nearby the farm.
 
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