Deputy President William Ruto on Friday launched a Sh 7 billion lower Nzoia irrigation project and improvement of flood mitigation structures in Busia County.
Dr Ruto said the project that will put 10,000 acres of land under irrigation is set to benefit 12,000 households as part of the Government’s efforts to ensuring food security in the country.
Addressing wananchi after the launch of the project at Busagwa primary school grounds in Budalangi constituency, Busia County, Dr Ruto said the Government was committed to attaining a lasting solution to the perennial problem of flooding and increase food production in the area.
He said the project comprises three components including diversion of weir with integrated gated flushing structure, conveyance and distribution system as well as flood protection dyke on both banks of the Nzoia River and Rwambwa Bridge towards lake Victoria.
“We are using almost Sh7 billion in the implementation of the three components to find lasting solution to floods in Busia and Siaya Counties and use water for irrigation to change the fortunes of the people,” said Dr Ruto.
Present were Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Segor, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, MPs Raphael Wanjala (Budalangi), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) and Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South).
Dr Ruto said the Government was keen to transforming the water sector to achieve food security through practical approaches that addresses the needs of Kenyans.
He said the implementation of the projects will increase production among the farmers in the area from the current Sh 600 million to Sh 4 billion yearly.
The Deputy President asked leaders from both national and the counties to put aside their political differences and take a common stand in implementing development projects that have direct impact on the lives of Kenyans.
“As leaders, we have agreed to put aside our political differences and take a common stand on issues of development. The focus of every leader is on how to improve the lives of his/her people,” said Dr Ruto.
Dr Ruto said a rice mill would be established in the area to boost production.
Mr Chelugui said the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has received Sh 450 million from Treasury to resettle and compensate families to be relocated from where canals, weirs and dykes will be constructed.
“These funds have been deposited to the National Lands Commission as provided by the law so that it oversees the compensation of all affected families,” said Mr Chelugui.
Governor Ojaamong said the county government was ready to work with the national government in finding lasting solution to the perennial flooding problem as well as increase food production in the area.
“Time for politics is over. This is why we are embracing teamwork and working with the Deputy President in addressing problems facing our people,” said Mr Ojaamong.
He asked the national government to help improve infrastructure in the Budalangi area to help the farmers access markets outside the area for their produce.
Mr Wanjala thanked the Government for its efforts to finding lasting solution to the perennial problem of floods in his constituency.
“This project will help solve perennial problems facing people in this area,” said Mr Wanjala.
He appealed to the Government to address the problem facing Kenyan fishermen along the Busia-Uganda border.
“We ask for protection from the government. We want to go to lake Victoria, do our fishing and come back safely,” said Mr Wanjala.
Mr Omuse on his part said residents in Busia County were interested in leaders who are focused on development.
“We have decided to work with the Deputy President because he is committed on matters of development. We want leaders who are keen to solving challenges facing Kenyans,” said Mr Omuse.
Mr Washiali urged residents of western Kenya to reconsider their political stand and support the Jubilee administration, which he said, was focused on development.
He said the region has lagged behind on matters of development because of bad politics.
The Deputy President also spoke at Sisenye, Port Victoria, during a handing over of parcel of land to Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute before addressing wananchi at St. Benedict’s, Budalangi High School.