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Government to build small dams for households to collect rain water

Water Pan

The ministry of agriculture and technology has announced plans to build 5,000 water pans for households in the country in a bid to collect surface run-off water this rainy season at a time when dry weather conditions led a decline in overall agricultural production from 10.8 per cent in 2016 to 8.1 per cent in 2016.

The programme is aimed at transforming Kenya from dependence on rain-fed agriculture production to irrigation with research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations showing that only two per cent of the total land under cultivation in sub-Saharan Africa is under modern irrigation systems.

In Kenya, irrigation accounts for only four per cent of the total land under production but contributes three per cent of the GDP and provides 18 per cent the value of al agricultural produce.

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The ministry reports that intensified irrigation can increase agricultural productivity four-fold and depending on the crops, incomes can be multiplied ten-times.

According to a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics dependence on rains which were insufficient last year led to a loss of 2.4m bags of maize, the staple food in the country.

The drop in maize production from 37.8m bags in 2016 to 35.4m bags last year was also attributed to infestation by Fall Armyworm, a pest that arrived in Kenya in March 2017 and has since spread to all the maize and wheat growing areas in Kenya such as Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Busia, Bungoma and Kisii among other areas.

Water pan

Besides maize decline, tea and coffee production dropped by seven per cent and 11.5 per cent to 439,800 tonnes and 40,800 tonnes respectively.

To curb this, the ministry will roll out a national agriculture mechanization program in the next seven days to boost crop production by reducing the cost of labor.

In this, farmers all over the country are registered through the county departments of agriculture so as to identify genuine farmers to benefit from government projects such as the water pans, subsidized fertilizer and first priority purchasing of maize at the end of this year’s harvesting season.

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