Fri. May 24th, 2019

TARDA avails Sh70 m to revive the Tana Delta Irrigation Schemes

Rice farmers going about their business at the Tana Delta using irrigation before the collapse of the project after River Tana changed its course in 2016

BY COAST CORRESPONDENT

The Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA) has pumped Sh70 million to rehabilitated the collapsed Tana Delta Irrigation Project (TDIP).

Engineering works has started to repair damaged infrastructure when the project stalled after River Tana changed its course at Kitere area about three years ago.

“We are currently doing engineering works to repair irrigation infrastructure with a view to reviving the project,” TDIP official Andrew Moroni told the Tana River County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee during a meeting at the County Commissioner’s office on Friday (April 12, 2019).

The TDIP had presented a budget of between Sh354 million and Sh400 million but only the Sh70 million had been approved with a promise that more funds would be availed for the project to start land preparation in July this year.

The demise of the project at Gamba area of Tana Delta Subcounty caused the multi-million rice mill to remain idle due to lack of rice although the plant was in working condition.

According to Mr Moroni the mill is running and if rice is sent there it will be processed although it has remained out of operation since the river changed its course and deprived the farms of water.

The TDIP’s target was to produce paddy on a 31,000 hectare farm but after the river changed course it left 2,000 hectares without water for irrigation.

The project was hit by another tragedy last year (2018) when floods destroyed dykes and other irrigation infrastructure such as bridges.

“We are currently doing some engineering works to repair the destroyed infrastructure with a view to reviving the scheme and we expect that it will be fully operational soon,” Mr Moroni said adding that TDIP occupies 31,000 hectares, but only 2,000 hectares earmarked for production by the time the river changed course and the dykes destroyed by floods.

The local committee members called on TARDA to expedite the rehabilitation works saying the project had the potential to feed the county and sell surplus to other counties.

The Tana River County also hosts other major irrigation projects – the Galana Kulalu food Security Project and the Hola and Bura irrigation schemes.

Early this week, Governor Dhadho Godhana urged the national government to hand over the irrigation projects to the county administration saying the government had failed to fully implement them.

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