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National Irrigation Board (NIB) working on Vision 2030, Big Four Agenda projects

NIB is responsible for the development, control and improvement of national irrigation schemes in Kenya.

Following are NIB’s achievements in 2017/2018

NIB Lined Canal
NIB Lined Canal


Thiba Dam

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project in November 2017 and work began in March 2018. The project is financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government under Mwea Irrigation Development Project.

The project involves construction of Thiba dam as well as irrigation and drainage at Mutithi section covering 10,000 acres. There will be resettlement of those affected by the project through community site development.

There will be compensation for the canal way leave and livelihoods restoration.

Expected benefits

i. Residents and local firms will be directly involved during construction thus creating employment for area residents. They will also supply construction materials and other services.

ii. Thiba dam will provide water storage capacity of 11,200,000m3 to enable expansion of the area under irrigation to 35,000 acres as well as allow two crops per year.

iii. Increase total production of rice to approximately 160,000 tonnes thus increase income generated by farmers from sale of paddy rice to Sh12 billion and also revenue generated from the production and value addition chain.

Household irrigation water storage programme

The board will construct small water pans for free to individual farmers in various counties across the country. The main objective is to harvest surface runoff to help farmers carry out supplementary irrigation activities throughout the year. Phase one was completed in 2018 with construction of 2,250 water pans. The board says the water pans will increase the households’ livelihoods and assure them food security.

Lower Nzoia Irrigation Development Project

Sinohydro Corporation won an international tender in 2017 to develop infrastructure for irrigating an area estimated at 10,108 acres and improve about 34 kilometres of flood mitigation structure (dykes) in the lower Nzoia River reach. The contract is worth Sh3.8 billion.

The construction at the intake works commenced in July 2018. The project is located in Busia and Siaya counties.

The project is financed by a credit from the International Development Association of the World Bank and German state-owned development bank, KfW, under the first investment operation in Kenya Water Security Project series.

Once complete, the project will contribute to two pillars of food security and manufacturing through value chain processing of agricultural produce and help transform Kenyans’ lives with the Government’s “Big Four” plan.

The board said half of the irrigation area will be devoted to high value crops (fruit, vegetables) and the other 50 per cent to rice in rotation with soybeans, cereals and other legumes

2018/2019 Projects

National Irrigation Board is prioritising projects geared toward achieving Vision 2030 and Big Four Agenda.

Water Harvesting Programme:  Household Water Projects for Irrigation

Develop 2,500 water harvesting and storage pans across the country.

Galana and Kulalu Irrigation Development Project for irrigation

The board targets to achieve the following by June 2019

i. Development of on field irrigation infrastructure (drip) for 4,000 acres.

ii. Complete construction of a second 45,000 m3 reservoir for drip system.

iii. Complete construction of on farm roads for 10,000 acres model farm.

Bura Irrigation Development Project

The board intends to implement the following activities towards development of Bura gravity project by June 2019

i. Construction of gravity intake by fourth quarter

ii. Construction and lining of the main canal

iii. Carry out community sensitisation and capacity building

Rwabura Irrigation Development Project, Kiambu County

The board intends to implement the following activities towards development of Rwabura irrigation project by June 2019

i. Complete compensation of project affected persons

ii. Finalise contractor recruitment for civil works construction

iii. Conduct farmers’ capacity building (trainings)

Expanded acreage

During the year the board targets to develop irrigation infrastructure for 15,000 acres under irrigation in the small and large irrigation development projects including Lower Sabor irrigation project by June 2019.

Mwea Irrigation Development Project (Thiba Dam)

In 2018/19, the board targets to undertake the following targeted activities by June 2019

i. Complete compensation of those affected at the irrigation area (irrigation canals)

ii. Commence construction of civil works at the dam site

iii. Construction of infrastructure at irrigation area

Water pans construction and rehabilitation

During the year, the board targets to construct and rehabilitate water pans including desilting of 10 colonial small dams each with a 100,000 m3 capacity.

Feasibility studies and designs

The board intends to complete feasibility studies and detailed designs for Umba Valley project (3,000 acres) and Naroosura project (300 acres) in Kwale and Narok counties respectively.

Rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation projects in Turkana

Rehabilitate and expand Turkwel, Lojokobwo, Kalemunyang, Kaliyoro, and Lokipelot existing irrigation projects in Turkana County bringing the total acreage to 5,000 acres.

Research and Development

Conduct eight trials on irrigated agriculture systems in Mwea Irrigated Agriculture Development Centre (MIAD) and Ahero Research Station. The information will be disseminated by June 2019.

Rice produced for consumption

Facilitate production of 45,000 tonnes of rice through supply of irrigation water to farmers in Mwea, Bunyala, West Kano, Ahero, and South West Kano by June 2019.

Download Complete 2019 Water Yearbook

About Kaburu Mugambi

Kaburu Mugambi is a veteran of business reporting having worked with two national newspapers in Kenya. He is a graduate of economics from Kenyatta University. He started his journalism career in 2000 with The People Daily as a business reporter before becoming a business sub-editor. He joined Daily Nation in 2004 as a business writer. He holds a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from University of Nairobi's School of Journalism and an MBA in marketing from the same university. In 2016, he founded Water Tower, a media firm focused on water, energy and climate. Its content cuts across water, energy and climate with emphasis on adaptation and sustainability.

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