Kenya: Galana-Kulalu Well on Course, State Says as It Seeks Sh600 Million

A committee of principal secretaries tasked with implementing key national projects has expressed satisfaction with the progress at the controversial Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme, revealing that it will push for release of Sh600 million for its completion.

The National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) chaired by Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said progress at the one million-acre irrigation project was satisfactory and requires the necessary funding to move it to the next level.

Mr Kibicho, who led 10 other principal secretaries who form the membership of the NDITC on a tour of the scheme yesterday, said the team would make a report and present it to the Cabinet committee in charge of the implementations for necessary action.

"We are happy with what we have seen here and we shall be making a report to the Cabinet committee so that the Galana project can get the Sh600 million that they have requested for in order to complete the model farm," said Dr Kibicho.

PROJECT'S SUITABILITY

Dr Kibicho said the PSs had been sent by the Cabinet committee that is chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to look at the project's suitability.

"A lot has been said about this project and it had been labelled as a white elephant, which is actually not true based on what we have seen," he said.

The Galana project has faced a number of challenges that has seen it lag behind the initial timelines. The National Irrigation Authority fell out with the Israeli contractor, Green Arava, over payments leading to the termination of its contract.

The latest endorsement of the project that has widely been labelled as a failure comes just a month after the parliamentary committee on water said it would approve more funds for the project.

LARGE-SCALE PRODUCTION

The Galana project was supposed to have been launched for large-scale production by now.

The model farm, which is a demonstration block that covers 10,000 acres was to be completed by 2018. About 7,000 acres have been cultivated to date with 3,000 acres farmed last year.

The Ministry of Water said in May that it will be opening up Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme to investors under the Private-Public Partnership model soon in a bid to meet one of the President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four agenda -- food security.

Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu said the ministry is in the process of revitalising the project after seeing the potential that the scheme has to guarantee food security in the country.

Mr Irungu said talks are ongoing with the House Committee on Water for additional funding to complete the project that is currently 85 percent done.

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