Background Information

The scheme was started as a detention camp for Mau Mau detainees during the height of the state of emergency. In order to establish whether rice crop could be cultivated, the colonial government carried out the first rice trials (research) in 1953.

This was mainly because the whole scheme area was then used as a common grazing ground and hence there was need to set up trials in order to determine the viability of rice crop production in the area.

The scheme is currently run under the participatory irrigation management approach with NIA being responsible for the primary and secondary infrastructure while the farmers are responsible for the tertiary infrastructure. Other key roles played by NIA in the scheme include land administration, capacity building, irrigation expansion and rehabilitation of the irrigation infrastructure.

Statistical Data


Kirinyaga County, Mwea East and West Sub-counties

Year of establishment


Gazetted Area

30, 350

Main Crop

Basmati 370 Rice

Area under Irrigation

26,000 (22,000 acres in the main scheme & 4,000 acres in the out-growers)

Source of irrigation water

Rivers Nyamindi and Thiba

No. of households/farmers


Type of irrigation

  • Conveyance System: - Partially lined canal
  • Distribution System: - Earthen Canals
  • Application System: - Basin/flood Irrigation

Other crops

Tomatoes, onions, French Beans, Maize and other horticultural crops

Current Status
Projected Benefits/ Benefits being realized

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