Kenya signs US$165m irrigation deal with Green Arava

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta
The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta operating a tractor during the launch the Galana Irrigation project in Tana River County

Green Arava, an Israeli firm has signed a US$165m Galana Irrigation project deal with the Kenyan government.

The signed agreement will see the firm rehabilitate the land under the Galana/ Kulalu Green Food Security Project in the Coastal region of Kenya. Galana Ranch is situated in Tana and Kilifi counties with an area of approximately 1.5 million acres.

The Galana Irrigation project will take some portions of the land under sugarcane farming. Maize production, horticulture, cattle rearing, dairy farming and the rest will be used for growing fruits.

The firm will build a 10,000 acre pilot farm which will be state-run to test concepts by the Kenyan government. A dam will also be constructed to provide the water needed for irrigating the project during this first phase. This demo farm is meant to gain the trust of investors so they may be able to come on board once the phase has been successfully implemented.

The successful completion of the Galana Irrigation project will see the region improve their food production and reduce their reliance on rain fed agriculture. The price of food commodity will also be reduced due to increased food productivity and low cost of production.

The firm assured the government of returns once the project is complete. This is because the technology that is going to be used has been tested in other areas such as Europe and Israel, which is one of the countries in the world that has been able to ensure food security in their countries through irrigation despite the low rains experienced there.

The total cost of the Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme is US$4.5bn. The model project, on the other hand, will cost US$165m with the Kenyan government setting aside US$40m while the Israelis will provide the remaining US$125m.

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