In Summary
  • Feasibility studies have been finalised and construction starts next month, according to the Mwea Irrigation Scheme manager, Mr Innocent Ariemba.
  • The scheme, which was established in 1950s, has the potential to produce enough rice for local consumption and for export.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to commission the project next month.

A multi-billion shilling rice project by the national government in Kirinyaga County will create 250,000 jobs.

The project involves the construction of a Sh16 billion Thiba Dam at Rukenya village.

Feasibility studies have been finalised and construction starts next month, according to the Mwea Irrigation Scheme manager, Mr Innocent Ariemba.

The dam will increase acreage under rice from 22,000 to 50,000 acres.

“More workers will be required for the rice fields,” he said yesterday.

Mr Ariemba said the project is expected to double rice production. “Rice will be grown twice a year and a huge workforce will be needed to plant and harvest it as well as scare away quelea birds,” said Mr Ariemba.

ENHANCING FOOD SECURITY

He said the scheme, which was established in 1950s, had the potential to produce enough rice for local consumption and for export.

The scheme, believed to be the largest in East and Central Africa, produces 80 per cent of rice consumed in Kenya and is renowned for its aromatic Pishori variety.

“This is a project the government is taking seriously because it will enhance food security, improve the economy and create jobs,” Mr Ariemba said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to commission the project next month.