Irrigation farming in Kenya is a growing practice that is helping to increase crop yields and improve food security. Kenya is a semi-arid country with unreliable rainfall, so irrigation is essential for many farmers.
There are two main types of irrigation used in Kenya: surface irrigation and sprinkler irrigation. Surface irrigation involves directing water onto the soil using channels or ditches. Sprinkler irrigation involves spraying water over the soil using sprinklers.
Other types of irrigation used in Kenya include drip irrigation and micro-irrigation. Drip irrigation involves delivering water directly to the roots of plants through a network of pipes and emitters. Micro-irrigation is a type of drip irrigation that uses small emitters to deliver water to the soil surface.
The following are the benefits or advantages of irrigation farming in Kenya
- It has raised standards of living of people because of sale of crops bring in income. due to reliable water supply irrigation leads to increase in harvest therefore farmers are able to sell more and meet their needs which in turn may lead to high standard of living
- Has helped to settle the landless people in some schemes like Mwea – Tabere. irrigation has opened once arid and wasteland into arable land hence relocating landless people into these areas
- Hard saved the country foreign exchange because Kenya can rely on domestic rice than importing. kenya rely on importing food from neighbouring countries like tanzania, therefore through irrigation it has been able to increase arable land and harvest which leads to decrease in food importation and saving the county’s foreign exchange reserve
- Leads to rehabilitation and development of the surrounding area by reclaiming dry land, and also putting infractural like schools and hospitals. areas with irrigation schemes attract people who go there to farm and do business , this leads to development of social amenities such schools, hospitals and roads
- Has helped in the control of environmental hazards like flooding through correction of dykes or dams
- Has created employment in the scheme hence raising of living standard
- Has led to the growth of urban centers thus solving the problem of rural – urban migration. the opening of irrigation schemes especially in rural areas has boosted the growth of town and employment opportunities thus reducing the rate of rural urban migration
AREAS WHERE IRRIGATION FARMING IS PRACTISED IN KENYA
The Rift Valley: The Rift Valley is a region of high agricultural potential, with fertile soils and a reliable water supply. Irrigation is used to grow a variety of crops in the Rift Valley, including maize, wheat, rice, and vegetables.
The Lake Victoria Basin: The Lake Victoria Basin is a large area that includes parts of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Irrigation is used to grow crops such as rice, maize, and sugarcane.
The Eastern Highlands: The Eastern Highlands are a region of high altitude and cooler temperatures. Irrigation is used to grow crops such as tea, coffee, and flowers.
CROPS THAT ARE GROWN UNDER IRRIGATION IN KENYA
Maize: Maize is the most important food crop in Kenya and is grown in all parts of the country. It is a staple food for many Kenyans and is also used to make beer and other products.
Wheat: Wheat is grown in the cooler highlands of Kenya and is used to make bread, pasta, and other products
Rice: Rice is grown in the irrigated areas of the Rift Valley and the Coastal Region. It is a staple food for many Kenyans and is also used to make beer and other products.
Vegetables: A variety of vegetables are grown under irrigation in Kenya, including tomatoes, onions, and cabbages. These vegetables are sold in local markets and exported to other countries.
Fruits: A variety of fruits are grown under irrigation in Kenya, including bananas, mangoes, and oranges. These fruits are sold in local markets and exported to other countries.