New plan to transform arid counties into bread baskets - Daily Nation

 New plan to transform semi-arid, arid counties into bread baskets

Thursday September 6 2018

ASAL conference

Governors Salim Mvurya (second right), Ali Roba (second left), MPs Paul Katana (right) and Owen Baya of Kilifi North during the ASAL conference on September 5, 2018. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CHARLES LWANGA
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The government has embarked on transforming arid and semi-arid lands (Asal) into the country's bread basket, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has said.

Mr Wamalwa said the Sh7 billion Galana-Kulalu Irrigation Scheme in Kilifi and Tana River counties had given hope to other counties that they too can become the bread basket of the nation.

Speaking at Ocean beach resort in Malindi during the Asal conference, he said 10,000 acres out of the one million acres which are under irrigation has enabled Kilifi and Tana River become food sufficient during drought.

“We aim at ensuring there is food security by practicing merchandised irrigation farming in the Asal counties to eradicate hunger and achieve the Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030 goal,” he said.

RICH IN MINERALS

Mr Wamalwa, who was accompanied by Kilifi deputy governor Gideon Samburi, said the Asal counties, such as such as Kilifi, Marsabit and Lamu, are rich in minerals, fertile soils, pastoralism and culture which promote tourism.

 “We have invited international and local investors to appreciate and learn more about these counties,” the CS said, adding that the inauguration will bring together all the 29 county governments for the conference and exhibitions.

On his part, Mr Samburi called upon the delegates to explore the county during that period to promote domestic tourism.

“Kilifi is one of the magical tourism destinations in the country and the activity will make residents realise tourism is back,” he said.

DRY CONDITIONS

Some of the Asal counties to be represented are Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Taita-Taveta, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu.

Others are Elgeyo-Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia, Narok, Kajiado, Nyeri (Kieni), Tharaka-Nithi, Embu, Meru, Migori, Homa Bay, Nakuru and Kiambu.

The conference comes as the Asal counties grapple with dry conditions, coming hot on the heels of floods which wreaked havoc and left 186 people dead while displacing about 300,000 others across the country.