The Kenyan government plans to invest more than $3 billion in irrigation projects over the next four years in response to a catastrophic drought in the region. It aims to benefit some 2 million people by irrigating some 2,000 square kilometers of farmland, an increase of almost 74 percent in the country's current irrigated area.
Sicily Kariuki, Kenya's secretary of state for water, sanitation and irrigation, revealed the plan during the longest drought in East Africa's history. The Horn of Africa has gone four years without rain. The drought is thought to be the result of climate change and the occurrence of La Niña, a cooling event in the oceans that shifts the latitude of trade winds and warms temperatures in countries in the southern hemisphere.
Some 4.3 million Kenyans are currently acutely food insecure, with 3.1 million in crisis and 1.2 million in emergency, according to the United Nations. According to the IPC classification of acute food insecurity, an emergency is when people go without food for a day or more on a regular basis and sell their possessions to buy food.
This work will be carried out under the Kenya National Irrigation Services Strategy. According to the National Irrigation Authority, as much as 89 percent of the country's land is arid or semi-arid, and agriculture accounts for about 61 percent of GDP when related industries such as processing and distribution are counted.Editor/XingWentao