Katilu Irrigation Scheme


Katilu Irrigation scheme is located in Turkana County in south sub - county approximately 130km south of Lodwar town. The project was started in 1966 but came to operation in 1970 through joint effort of Ministry of Agriculture who provided recurrent costs and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) who provided capital cost and technical personnel.

The scheme is situated along River Turkwel; which is perennial, and irrigation water is diverted by gravity through earth canal to the scheme.

The objective of the scheme was to settle some selected number of Nomadic families from famine camps in the County.

The scheme by then consisted of about 500acres with each family allocated 1acre as tenant. The main crops grown were; maize, cotton, Okra, Sorghum etc. In 1982 the NORAD through the Ministry of Agriculture, changed the irrigation system from Furrow to Basin system.

Progress of Works

a. Rehabilitation of Irrigation infrastructure

The National Irrigation Board in 2011 started rehabilitation of the scheme with an aim of reinstating the furrow irrigation system.

The irrigation infrastructure was dilapidated with most farmers’ field and access roads covered with huge trees and prosofis.

The main activities under rehabilitation were;

  • Bush clearing the entire scheme
  • Desilting of main canals, feeder canals and drainage canals
  • Construction of dyke of 8.5 km length
  • Opening of access roads and grading
  • Construction and installation of canal water control structures
  • Construction of feeder canals check boxes
  • Lining of main canal at intake (150 meters length)

b. Crop Production.

After the rehabilitation of the scheme the farmers requested to be supported in crop production. The farmers were provided with the following:

  1. Land preparation- ploughing, harrowing and ridging
  2. Provision of farm inputs - hybrid seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides
  3. Linkage of farmers to market- NIB introduced the farmers to National Cereals and Produce Board in 2012 where 2,800bags of maize each weighing 90 kgs were delivered in Lodwar depot they also linked farmers that had planted water melons to Tullow oil Company where the farmers sold their ripped melons and in 2017 linked the horticultural farmers to Kakuma Refugee Camp through WPF for marketing their produce such as: tomatoes, watermelon, sukuma wiki, kale, bananas, fruits etc

c. Crop diversification.

NIB has introduced a variety of crop in the area through our research demonstration farm, such as Nerica 4 rice, green grams, watermelons, Tissue culture bananas and Butternut. This has helped in control of pests, diseases and improvement of soil fertility. As the result of the above interventions, the crop yields improved as well as income of farmers. The increment in yields is as shown below:

Average yields after intervention

Maize PH4 variety-22bags of 90kgs per acre, Green grams-9bags of 90kgs per acre, Sorghum -8 bags of 90 bags per acre, Rice Nerica 4- 26 bags paddy (75kg) per acre, DKC 90-89 maize-35 to 40 bags of 90kgs, DKC 777 maize-30 to 35 bags of 90kgs

In 2018 the Board introduced new maize varieties in the scheme DKC 90-89, DKC 777 AND SY 594 which are high yielding and resistant to most crop disease.

d. Handling of produce.

The Board improved the handling of harvested crops by providing the following facilities; weighing balance, tarpaulins for drying, maize shelter, pallets, moisture meters.

e. Weed control and Pest control.

The NIB has continued to sensitize farmers on need to use chemicals in controlling of weeds and armyworms in their fields in order to realize high yields. Since the introduction of these modern agricultural practices, most farmers are able to be in production throughout the year.

f. Capacity Building.

For the farmers to realize high crop yields through proper crop husbandry management practices, NIB carried out sensitization and capacity building through the following ways;

  1. Opening of demonstration plots/ model farm. A plot of 3.5 acres was allocated to NIB by farmers to be used for research activities and demonstration to farmers on various crop husbandry practices.
  2. Training and tours-to improve the productivity in the scheme NIB has exposed the scheme farmers to other irrigation schemes in Kenya through tours. Further NIB has trained 1500 farmers through in door as well as quarterly Field Days.
  3. Registration of farmers’ Self-Help Groups- in 2012, NIB organized the registration of 41 Self-Help Groups at Social Services Department in Lodwar. The farmers were introduced to Equity bank in Lodwar where all the group and famers opened their group accounts and personal accounts respectively.
Project Status
Benefits of the Project

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