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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya begins construction of 190-mln-
USD dam to boost food security

KIRINYAGA, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday launched construction of 190-million-U.S.-dollar Thiba dam in Kirinyaga County, central Kenya.

Kenyatta said the mega project would be a game changer in rice production in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme.

“Food security is critical to the Jubilee agenda. It will be part and parcel of my second term,” said Kenyatta, adding that water from the dam would enable farmers to have two seasons of planting annually, a move that would boost their income.

Kenyatta stressed that the dam would buttress efforts geared towards ensuring the country is food secure, one of the key planks of the administration’s transformational agenda.

According to Kenyatta, the project, which would be complete within three years, would employment over 1,000 people including rice farmers in Mwea who will double production from the current 80 tonnes to 160 tonnes annually.

Kenyatta said the project will also help in stabilization of the irrigation water supply, allowing double cropping with the area under irrigation increasing from 25,000 acres to 35,000 acres.

This, the Kenyan leader said, will in turn increase revenue from 45 million dollars to 86 million dollars annually.

The construction of Thiba dam is being financed in partnership with the Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Deputy President William Ruto said the government is constructing 57 dams across the country in its effort to boost food security.

“These dams are aimed at improving food production and also allow Kenyans access clean water for domestic use,” Ruto said.

             

 

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