The National Irrigation Board (NIB) will sell maize from the Galana Irrigation Scheme to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at Sh2,300 a bag amid low market prices.
About 20,000 bags of maize harvested on 500 acres of land has been harvested and is stored at the NCPB depot in Voi, said NIB Chief Engineer, Planning and Design, Mwangi Thuita.
“We will sell this maize at Sh2,300 per bag to the NCPB. We will sell all the maize that we have harvested,” he said.
The market price of maize dropped to Sh1,500 from Sh2,300 last month when North Rift, the country’s grain basket, begun harvesting the crop.
Mr Thuita said that maize on another 500 acres will be ready for harvesting in five months.
The 1,000 acres so far cultivated is part of the initial 10,000-acre model farm which is set to be fully operational next March. Kenya has contracted Israeli firm Green Arava to develop the farm.
Mr Thuita said that the next season’s crop will be processed on the farm and transported to the market as a finished product for sale in shops.
“Here at Galana we are keen on value addition, that is why the crop from the next season will be processed here,” he said.
A state-of-the-art milling facility will be installed on the farm to process and package flour for sale.
The Galana project is aimed at bridging the annual deficit of 20 million bags of maize. NIB believes that putting 250,000 acres under maize will be enough to bridge the deficit and slash imports from Uganda and Tanzania.
READ: Galana scheme holds big promise for Kenya’s food security
Galana is a public-private partnership project where the government provides irrigation infrastructure while private investors plant crops.
NIB has projected that large-scale production at the scheme will start in the next three years, after completion of a dam now being built.
The project was supposed to cover one million acres but feasibility studies have indicated that available water from River Tana can irrigate 500,000 acres.