KENYA - The tender for the construction of dams and an electric fence at the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme has been cancelled weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta inked a deal with Israel on financing.
The National Irrigation Board (NIB) says the tender will be re-advertised at a later date after consultation with other State agencies.
The board in November sought a firm to build the infrastructure on 400,000-acre piece of land and it was expected to have Sh10 billion and show ability to raise Sh122 billion to undertake the project.
Mr Kenyatta and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late February signed a deal for cooperation between the two countries in implementing the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme. Details of the pact were not revealed.
“We cancelled the tender because we needed more time to consult with other government agencies such as the office of the Attorney-General, ministries of Agriculture and Water in order to come up with a good plan for the project,” said Thuita Mwangi, chief engineer, planning and design, at the NIB.
The firm initially being sought was expected to operate under the build, own, operate, transfer model that involves contractors building an infrastructure with their own resources and charge a fee to users over a period of time before transferring it to the government.
Under the project, investors will be offered land for crop production and value addition, meaning those dealing in maize will be expected to produce flour and other products on the farm.
They will pay a fee to the NIB which is expected to share the revenues generated with the contractor laying the infrastructure over a per-determined period.
Water from Galana River is not enough to irrigate the 400,000 acres of land, prompting plan to build three dams for storage.
Kenya has an annual deficit of 20 million bags of maize annually and NIB believes that 250,000 acres of land under the crop would be enough to bridge the deficit and slash imports from Uganda and Tanzania.
The Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme is a public-private partnership programme.