KIRINYAGA. — Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday launched the construction of a $190 million Thiba dam in Kirinyaga County, central Kenya. President Kenyatta said the mega project would be a game changer in rice production in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme.
“Food security is critical to the Jubilee agenda. It will be part and parcel of my second term,” said President Kenyatta, adding that water from the dam would enable farmers to have two seasons of planting annually, a move that would boost their income.
Kenyatta stressed that the dam would buttress efforts geared towards ensuring the country is food secure, one of the key planks of the administration’s transformational agenda. According to him, the project, which would be complete within three years, would employ over 1 000 people including rice farmers in Mwea who will double production from the current 80 tonnes to 160 tonnes annually.
President Kenyatta said the project will also help in stabilisation of the irrigation water supply, allowing double cropping with the area under irrigation increasing from 25 000 acres to 35 000 acres.
This, the Kenyan leader said, will in turn increase revenue from $45 million to $86 million annually. The construction of Thiba dam is being financed in partnership with the Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Deputy president William Ruto said the government is constructing 57 dams across the country in its effort to boost food security.
“These dams are aimed at improving food production and also allow Kenyans access clean water for domestic use,” Ruto said. — Xinhua.