Irrigation schemes to ensure food security for the Lamu archipelago

The Lamu county government has established several small-scale irrigation schemes aimed at boosting food security across the archipelago.

The devolved unit’s ambitious rural irrigation scheme seeks to link villages through nearest possible sources of water.

The schemes that are transforming livelihoods are at Mkunumbi, Basuba, Witu, Moa, Chalaluma and Maleli areas in Lamu West sub-county.

Lamu Governor Issa Timamy says in an interview that his administration has expended Sh. 14 million in 2015 to start the small-scale irrigation schemes designed as a ‘ladder out of poverty’ for rural communities and small holder farmers.

The county boss says in order to make agricultural production more sustainable in the region the county government is empowering farmers who venture into irrigated crop production.

‘As a county we want to support irrigated agriculture for enhanced food security through tapping into the waters of river Tana that meanders into Lamu’ said Timamy.

He went on ‘we have also started distributing high quality seeds and fertilizers to farmers to improve yields’.

The county government supports irrigation projects covering more than 57 acres using water sources from Lake Moa and Lake Amu.

The move is aimed at unlocking the existing potential in the county to improve food security, income of farmers and general livelihoods of the residents.

The 10 acres Moa irrigation scheme is utilizing water from the Lake Moa in the Tana Delta to fight perennial food shortages in the coastal county.

It is on this basis that the women group under the umbrella of the Moa conservation group approached the county government for assistance.

The county administration provided the women with all farm inputs, including quality seeds, farm implements, pipes to siphon water from Lake Moa to irrigate crops and farm fencing.

‘We previously engaged in livestock keeping and fishing but now fully engaged in agricultural activities involving crop rotation’ says Maryam Roba the Moa women group secretary.

She says members can now grow food for their families and the market in surrounding villages that have no access to the water.

Paulo Nyoka the ward administrator for Witu in the sub-county says the schemes are providing villagers who were hitherto dependent on rain fed agriculture with means to fight poverty.

He says the irrigation projects have ensured food sustenance for members of the various programmes as well as advance environmental conservation.

Nyoka says the small scale irrigation projects that are slowly turning the region greenbelts will improve food security, agriculture-based income and general livelihood of the people of Lamu.

‘For example two months ago farmers in Chalaluma irrigation project harvested food crops worth Sh. 1 million’ he said.

Aliya Waticho a mother of four and a member of the Moa conservation group said ‘ agriculture is our main source of income in the village’.

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