Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
The government is planning to start sourcing irrigation water from underground aquifers. Water and Irrigation ministry says the move will significantly cut down costs incurred in food importation, which have shot above the Sh340 billion mark in the last three years.
Irrigation PS Fred Sigor said the country has more than 250 billion cubic metres of water trapped underground which, if tapped and used for irrigation, has potential to turn around the country’s food security fortunes.
He said irrigation agriculture contributes to only three per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product currently while countries like Sudan and Egypt are doing way better.
He was speaking during the official launch of African Professional initiative in Water Energy Environment and Climate Change (APIWEC) three-day regional conference that brought together experts from more than 12 African countries at Pwani University and attended by Principal secretary for Agriculture Hamadi Boga.
“Long term solution is to construct storage facilities to make use of the rain water which can amount to more than 681 million cubic metres that can help irrigate over 100,000 acres,” he said.
Boga said there is need to engage universities on research to ensure production is improved. He said there is need to embrace modern technology to deal with persistent pests and droughts catalysed by climate change.