The county government of Garissa plans to construct irrigation schemes and dams to mitigate damage from persistent flooding along River Tana.
Farmers along the river often suffer devastating floods due to downpours that leave hundreds of people displaced and acres of farmland destroyed whenever the river bursts its banks.
A technical team led by Abdi Omar, the Water and Irrigation executive, now says the county government is finalising plans to tap floodwaters upstream and – using a pipeline – divert the water into the hinterland where it would be stored in dams and used for irrigation.
The technical team, which also included the chief officer for Irrigation Abdullahi Osman and Yussuf Noor, the county director of Irrigation, made presentations during a stakeholders’ consultative forum for the draft National Irrigation Services Strategy for Garissa, Wajir and Mandera. The event was held at Garissa University.
The plan will see the county government set up irrigation schemes at Rahole, Hone, Fafi, Dagega, Gababa and Abalatiro to take advantage of the floodwaters to spur smallholder agriculture and boost food security in the county.
This will reduce dependence on relief food as well as deter flooding of the river downstream.
“We want our views captured in this key document so we can take advantage of the Sh1.6 trillion package it comes with, which we can tap and use to build the infrastructure we need to bring this programme to fruition,” Omar said.
“We have the potential to irrigate about 32,000 acres, but currently we do about 5,000 acres. This project will enable us to scale up our numbers and, most importantly, open up new areas for agriculture and irrigation and bring relief from flooding for residents and farmers downstream.”
The consultative forums are being held countrywide under the State Department of Water, Irrigation and Sanitation led by the Irrigation Secretary Aboud Moeva.