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December 7, 2023

Thiba Dam will boost Mwea Irrigation scheme

The Thiba Mega Dam in Kirinyaga County was supposed to take forty-five months to be fully completed. However, speaking to Waterkenya, the manager in charge of construction Eng.Stephen Mutinda says they are likely to complete the project before the expected timelines.

According to Mutinda, who is overseeing the construction of Thiba Dam, the project is greatly taking shape after its launch in last year.

He observed that all factors remaining constant and effective as they have been, in accordance to the work plan, the construction may take 36 months to be fully completed.

The Manager disclosed that 20 per cent of the construction work has been successfully achieved in spite of few delays that were caused as result of the time that treasury took to award the contractor with an import duty exemption certificate.

“We moved to the site on March 1 last year but the treasury took up to December 13, to issue us with the import duty exemption certificate for our heavy duty construction equipment which had been held at the port of Mombasa due to that vital document resulting to the delay into venturing in the major works,” he said.

The Manager also said the company equipment have so far been cleared in the port and most of them have arrived in the construction site.

The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture had last year visited the dam site where it was briefed on the progress of the project among it the short delays that had been experienced at that time. It was led by the Vice Chairman of the committee who is Navakholo Member of Constituency, Emmanuel Wangwe on December 8 last year and promised to cooperate with executive to ensure the project is fast tracked for the residents to start benefiting.

Among those who visited are, the Mwea MP, Kabinga Wachira whose rice farmers are expected to greatly benefit from the ongoing multi-billion project. MP Wachia urged the contractor to see if they can tap some piped water from the dam and supply it to the farmers for irrigation and household use.

“True to the Committee’s promise, the matter was resolved on December 13 after which we started moving with speed to start clearing the heavy duty equipment,” Mutinda told waterkenya.

“Within the next few weeks we should be able to divert the Thiba River in order to start the real excavation from the dam area which comprises of heavy engineering activities,” Engineer, Mutinda said.

The Thiba Dam Water Project is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the government of Kenya.

The Germany Strabag International Construction Company was awarded the mega contract to implement the construction of this project. According to Mutinda; the company has the greatest capacity to deliver quality work at the right time.

After the completion, the project is set to benefit the Mwea Irrigation scheme which has been operating since 1956 depending on rain water only.

The Thimba dam will be in a position to hold 15 million cubic litres of water which will be used by the farmers and also for households consumption. The food production and majorly rice is also expected to increase hence improving the food security in the country.

The National Irrigation Board (NIB) is working hand in hand with the Germany company on behalf of the Kenyan government to promote food security in alignment to President Uhuru Big Four Agendas.

The Board has embarked on programme that will guide the country in extending massive food production in the whole country through irrigation.

The Manager, Mr.Innocent Ariemba said the goal of the proggramme is to sensitise the farmers in efforts to ensure they cultivate crops that will produce meaningful yields.

The rice production in Mwea Irrigation scheme is expected to double from the current 80,000 metric tons.

Ariemba says they will also research and pursue planting of other crop which can be favoured by the area climate.

However, the farmers urged the government to stop the more importation of cheap rice from the East countries which unfairly competes against the local quality Mwea Pishori rice.

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