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“Desert” Ngoliba goes green with revival of NDUMANGO Irrigation Scheme.

Sometime ago, Ngoliba location was known for its dry weather and scarcity of food. Residents of this area have over the years been depending on food rations donated by the government and well-wishers for most of the year.

They were largely involved in peasant farming growing food crops only during the rainy season, and every time the rains failed, they barely had enough food or income for their needs.

Previously, there were only two farming seasons throughout the year; the rainy season between February and May and the one from September to December. They would spend the other remaining months almost doing nothing – a long wait that sometimes proved painful, as they would at times run out of food to feed her family.

However, the Ndula-Magogoni-Ngoliba (NDUMANGO) Irrigation Scheme that was revived a few months ago by the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina after years of plunder and misappropriation of funds is changing the livelihoods of this rural community in Thika East Sub-County.

The people’s dreams of a better life have turned into reality for those who have already embraced irrigation farming in the three areas. With a focus on market-driven farming, they have started to invest in enhancing production to meet the growing market demand for farm produce.

“With this irrigation, I am now able to grow crops all year round, regardless of whether it is a rainy season or not,” says Swale Githinji, a banana and maize farmer in Ndula village.

He says that at a time like this when water is in plenty, he waters his crops using overhead irrigation method by this changes when the water levels in Chania River falls during the dry season when he turns to drip irrigation.

“Since September last year when this project was actualized, I usually earn an average of sh. 60,000 a month from the sale of bananas in my quarter acre of land. In fact the market is so big that we even cannot satisfy the demand for bananas,” he says.

He is requesting the government to put up about three water pans to serve as the source of irrigation water especially during the dry season.

“We need about three water pans to serve the farmers. One at Macadamia Farm to serve the people of Ndula, another one at Del Monte to serve Maguguni farmers and a third one at Mbuthia Farm for Ngoliba residents,” he adds.

Julius Kiiru from Maguguni decided to specialise on fruit farming. He grows pawpaw, passion fruits, tree tomatoes and pomegranates, which he intercrops with pumpkins and cassava in his quarter acre piece of land.

He also rears some goat using the same irrigation water.

After touring the farms, Kiambu County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga encouraged those who had not yet embraced the new mode of farming to do so as this was their only way to get out of poverty.

He added that if all the residents of Ngoliba ward fully utilised the programme, the area would enjoy good security, as everyone would have some source of income.

Area MP Eng. Wainaina encourage the farmers to form working clusters that would attract funding and more government assistance in terms of training and capacity building for improved yields and more income.

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