Bura: Irrigation Scheme

Bura: Irrigation Scheme

Gemeinnützige Einrichtung


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The development of the lower Tana Basin through development of irrigated agriculture became inevitable due to rapid increase of the country’s population since the 1950s and considering the fact that 80% of Kenya’s land area is arid or semi-arid. It is therefore with this consideration that several studies were carried out in the lower Tana Basin that culminated in the World Bank’s Appraisal Report of 1977 and conception of Bura Irrigation and Settlement Project.

The project is situated along the Tana River in Tana River District, Coast Province. It is 50km North of Hola Town and about 400 kilometres North- of Mombassa Town. The construction of BISP started in 1978 and was funded by the World Bank, ODA, EEC, UNDP, Finnish Government, the Netherlands and the Government of Kenya. The project was set up with the following objectives:-

(i) Settling the landless, unemployed or the under-employed. About 5150 families would be settled in phase I and about 3000 families in phase II;
(ii) Increasing food and cash crops production to ensure food sufficiency and save foreign exchange;
(iii) Creating employment and increasing the income of the community settled in the project.
(iv) Opening up arid and semi-arid regions by providing water. About 6700 hectares would be opened up in phase I and another 5000 hectares in Phase II;
(v) Improving and rehabilitating the environment by planting trees to provide fuel wood and building materials for the scheme’ Population and its surroundings. The target of the area to be afforested would be 4500 hectares.

The project was principally modelled on the lines of Tana Irrigation Scheme, 50 kilometres South of Bura. The settlement was to take place in a space of 5 years, and the total population was estimated to reach 65,000 people. The settler families were to be settled in 23 villages scattered throughout the scheme. This population was to be supported from the agricultural production in the scheme based on:-

(i) Cotton - main cash crop where farmers would cultivate 1.25ha plot each year.
(ii) Maize/Groundnuts - main food crops where farmers would cultivate 0.65ha plot each year.
(iii) Vegetables and other legumes - farmers would cultivate 0.05ha plot, and here the farmer would choose what crops to grow.

Currently with adequate irrigation water all the developed land has been opened up and cropping is on-going.

In 2009/2010 under the Economic stimulus programme, a total of 5,200 acres were put under production in all the villages with maize crop. This produced about 78,000 bags of 90 kgs each (7,020 tons).
However due to some challenges on aflatoxin infestation not all the produce was sold. To mitigate this problem, NIB in collaboration with the Ministry of agriculture has intensified on capacity building for farmers through training on handling and proper storage of maize. In addition to that, moisture testing meters have been availed to ensure that maize is dried to the correct moisture content before storage.

In the year 2010/2011 cropping season, about 4200 acres were planted with maize, Chilies and Cotton.

Estimated yields for maize 45000bags (4,050tons) Cotton 360tons and chilies about 100 tons were achieved.

In the year 2011/2012 cropping season about 7950 acres planted with commercial maize, Seed Maize chilies and cotton, the programme is on-going.



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