Background information

Tana Irrigation Scheme is the oldest national irrigation scheme having started in 1953. The Scheme gazette area is 12,000 acres. The initially developed area was 900 ha (2,500 acres), and the scheme has a possible extension area of 12,000 acres. The current area under irrigation is 4,700 acres with the current number of farming families (households) being 1,050 registered farmers therefore a population of about 6000 persons depend on this project for their livelihood.

The scheme collapsed in 1989 when Tana River changed its course, and was revived in 2009, rehabilitation which was funded by Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Government of Kenya.


Statistical data


Tana River County


Year of establishment



Gazetted area

12000 Acres


Area under Irrigation

4700 Acres


Source of irrigation water

River Tana


No. of households/farmers

1050 households


Type of Irrigation

Water is abstracted through pumping, conveyed and distributed in open earth canal and applied through furrow irrigation system


Main crop



Other crops

Cotton and other horticultural crops


Current status

Currently, the scheme is on but there are elaborate plans to put the entire scheme under production. Maize production has been initiated in 300 acres. Negotiation are ongoing to contract farmers to grow sorghum.


Projected Benefits/ Benefits being realized

·         Poverty eradication

·         Food security

·         Employment creation

·         Prevention of farmers – pastoralists’ conflicts by providing livestock water in the irrigation canals thus preventing the livestock from accessing the water from the river where the farmers do their farming.




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