The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Israel Gives Kenya Sh7 Billion for Irrigation

THE government has secured Sh7.04 billion for the implementation of the one-million acre irrigation project in Tana River county.

Agriculture Secretary Felix Koskei on Thursday said the ministry has signed an agreement with the Israeli government to fund the project.

"We signed a financial agreement with the Deputy Prime Minister from Israel (Avigdor Liberman) where they are going to give us USD80 million to proceed," Koskei said.

He was speaking in Mombasa on the sidelines of the Inter-governmental Consultative Forum on agriculture, livestock and fisheries, which was also attended by about 30 governors.

Koskei said the government will hasten the first phase of the project which includes development of 10,000 acres of the irrigations scheme and a dam.

The second phase of the project will be on 100,000 acres that will be on crop production and is expected to be completed by 2016.

"It is alive and proceeding very well. We have finalised the designs," said Koskei.

He said the national and county governments want to work together to ensure the agricultural sector returns to its former glory in terms of growth, development, job creation and wealth creation.

The governors, led by Council of Governors chairman Isaac Rutto said Kenya is food insecure and efforts must be put to ensure the country becomes food secure.

Koskei said though Kenya is a food-deficit country, it has all the assets required to change that situation.

He however allayed fears that there will be hunger in the Kenya saying the country's food basket is stable at the moment as the government has put in place measures to mitigate hunger.

"The country is stable....We are harvesting from South Rift. We are getting a lot of inflow from the neighbouring countries and we are not seeing any big problem as far as food is concerned," said Koskei.

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