Galana Kulalu food security project attracts 15 private investors
The Galana Kulalu Food Security project located along the Kilifi and Tana River border has started attracting private investors, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Fifteen companies have already expressed interest in the irrigation-led agriculture initiative that sits on more than 200,000 acreages.
This is according to Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome, who says the 10,000-acre model farm is complete and expansion on an additional 10,000 acres is underway.
The expansion exercise is being carried out by Twiga Foods Limited through its large-scale commercial farming partner Selu Limited.
“This particular project faced some teething problems including the politicization of the project and Twiga Foods have started the first crop which is almost ready for harvest,” she said.
“Twiga will take 20,000 acres and we have enough water to irrigate 10,000 acres immediately and we are on plans to improve the harvesting to a larger scale.”
The private investor is undertaking a pilot farm on 495 acres for different maize varieties and fertilizer at different stages of maturity to come up with the most suitable and high-yielding variety.
CS Wahome stated that the area has at least 300,000 acres of arable land and that the government, through the National Irrigation Authority, will put up the infrastructure required in order to enable the private sector to invest in irrigation.
“As the national government, we are here to put up an enabling environment for investments through infrastructure such as water harvesting. The issue of water pollution we will handle, and I am calling upon Kenyans to be sensitive and desist from polluting the environment,” said the CS.
State Department for Irrigation Principal Secretary Ephantus Kimotho Kimani, who accompanied the CS, said most investors were inquiring about the type of soil and availability of water which the government has already addressed.
“In the next month, by the time Twiga is having bumper harvest, then we will have done the expression of interest for the other investors,” said Mr. Kimani.
Peter Njonjo, who is the founder of Selu Limited, said his firm anticipates producing at least 2 million bags of maize every year from 20,000 acres and creating employment opportunities for about 2,000 people, in that maize crop at Galana Kulalu matures in 105 days.
“Unlike other parts of the country, the maize crop takes 105 days here and this means that with irrigation we can actually do three seasons a year, and when you take that into account and with the high yields, then this has the capacity of creating a huge transformation as far as maize is concerned,” Njonjo said.
“At 20,000 acres we anticipate that we can get to as high as 2 million bags a year and that now starts making a difference in terms of pricing, our objective is to ensure that with these yields we can then give back to society a lower priced product that is of very high quality.”
Additional irrigation trials at Galana Kulalu have been ongoing with President William Ruto's administration aiming to use the project to address food security in the country.
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