Saturday, February 1, 2014

Kenyan irrigation scheme offers solutions but raises questions

IRIN: One of the largest irrigation schemes in Kenya’s history, the recently launched 400,000-hectare Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project, will focus on the production of crops, livestock and fish for both domestic consumption and export.

But will the project succeed in its stated aim of alleviating the country’s persistent food deficit while creating a million jobs? Or will it turn out to be another white elephant that lines the pockets of a well-connected few?

“Previous [irrigation] projects could not survive since the communities were not involved. They felt short-changed. We were given a raw deal. Only a few people benefitted,” Jefferson Kingi, the governor of Kilifi, told IRIN. Kilifi and Tana River are the two counties set to host the project.

“Massive projects such as this, like many others, are always opportunities for government officials and corrupt politicians to make quick money. It is incumbent upon the government to ensure it is not hijacked by corruption cartels,” PLO Lumumba, a constitutional lawyer and anti-corruption activist, told IRIN.

The government has already allocated some US$42 million to finance the first phase of the project….

A 28-member farming group in Machakos, Kenya farms a 4-acre plot where they grow oranges, avocado, vegetables, maize. Shot by McKay Savage, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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