Irrigation project ‘not worth’ the millions spent on it

Friday, June 7th, 2024 10:30 | By
An illustration of a river. PHOTO/Pexels.
An illustration of a river. PHOTO/Pexels.

Environmental experts have questioned the viability of the Galana-Kulalu irrigation project in the Coast region, terming it a white elephant.

They also faulted the devolution of agriculture functions to counties, saying it had reduced food production.

They said the Galana-Kulalu project would not help solve food insecurity as the soils were saline and unsuitable for food production.

They claimed that some people in the government were aware of this but chose to use the project as a cash cow.

“We have conducted numerous studies on soils at Galana-Kulalu and at the Coast in general and established that they were unfit for production of food,” said Winston Atamba, a climate change policy analyst, at a workshop in Kisumu.

“The pH of these soils is up to nine, which means they are too salty to produce crops.”

The millions of shillings being pumped into the project, he said, were a waste as the soils could not sustain crops even if watered all the time.

“What happens is that the salinity in the soils squeeze out water and prevent crops from taking up adequate nutrients. That is why the crops will still wilt even if irrigated all the time,” Atamba said.

He added that the effects of climate change could make the soils worse, urging officials to close the irrigation project altogether.

Kenya, he said, needed to adopt radical climate change mechanisms to mitigate the effects of global warming.

These sentiments were echoed by Kennedy Ouma, who said that while tree planting was a positive effort that should be enhanced, other measures should be adapted.

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