The Kenya government is set to enact new laws to manage irrigation in the country – and establish the National Irrigation Development Authority which will oversee the growth of the sector.
The Bill, now in Parliament, seeks to develop and improve irrigation infrastructure which has been under the National Irrigation Board.
The new parastatal will provide irrigation support services to private, medium and smallholder schemes, in consultation with county governments and other stakeholders.
It will also have the mandate to undertake irrigation development, including infrastructure, in national or public and smallholder schemes, including schemes which traverse or straddle more than one county.
More so, it will facilitate formation and strengthening of irrigation water users’ associations at scheme level.
The county governments will also be able to establish county irrigation development units. “Each county government shall, for purposes of ensuring uniformity and national standards in the irrigation sub-sector, through its legislative and administrative action, implement and act in accordance with the national policy guidelines issued by the Cabinet Secretary and approved by Parliament,” says the new law.
The county irrigation development units will formulate and implement county irrigation strategy in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and in line with national policies and strategies.
It is supposed to develop and maintain an irrigation database and integrate systematic monitoring and evaluation. It will also identify community-based smallholder schemes for implementation in line with national guidelines.
It will also seek the establishment of viable farmer organizations, and in particular irrigation water users associations to develop and manage irrigation schemes including actively participating in conflicts resolution within irrigation schemes.