State Department for Irrigation PS Mr. Ephantus Kimotho, leading a team from the ministry and World Bank Kenya led by Pieter Waalewjin in the past week inspected the Lower Nzoia Irrigation Project as part of a technical mission.

The party was pleased to find that Lower Nzoia Irrigation Project Phase 1 is almost complete and the next step is translating the installed Irrigation infrastructure to food production in Siaya and Busia Counties.

Siaya County being an agricultural county, has the potential to help reduce the rice deficit by 30% and commended efforts to invest in a rice mill that will stop the region from exporting rice raw materials to neighboring countries which often makes farmers not benefit from its byproducts.

 The Irrigation PS promised to open intake to make water flow in 3 weeks after inspecting some farmers who are already producing sunflower, a government-supported effort in the reduction of edible oil imports bill.

Siaya County Governor H.E James Orengo promised investments in extension services and mechanization to enhance food production. He also informed the team that Busia County will become among the first counties to establish County Irrigation Development Units (CIDUs).

Mr. Kimotho was pleased with the progress of the agricultural components of the project being done by GFA Consultants, especially the Capacity Building of farmers in Good Agronomic Practices for High-Value Crops and Rice.

After conducting successful adaptive research, the project has settled on 6 signature Value Chains; Rice, Sunflower, Tomatoes, Kales, Capsicum, and African Leaf Vegetables.

The project consultants are currently developing business cases for each signature value chain.

Farmers have been organized into farmer producer and marketing groups and also into Cooperative Societies, making it easy for the State Department for Trade to make market-based interventions.

Over 10,000 farmers have been trained, 148 farmer groups have been formed, and 4 cooperative societies have been formed to consolidate production and marketing activities to deliver on the economy of scale or marketable volumes.