The whole of Israel is Arid and semi-Arid, getting rains totaling between 80 – 800mm per year with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius during summer and minimum of 1 – 10 degrees during winter. These harsh conditions make the issue of water utilization an important priority by the government of Israel. There’s no enough rains, no flooding in Israel.
|Crops grown under drip Irigation in the Negev desert, Israel|
|Green in the Desert, Israel|
The current irrigation schemes are located along river banks, where frequent flooding occurs during rainy seasons. Thus, flood and furrow irrigation suit these areas in order to maximize use of flooding water that would otherwise cause havoc downstream.
|Cotton under drip irigation, Israel|
We do not need drip irrigation in Kano, Mwea, Budalangi, Tana Delta, Ahero or Oloitokitok. We however need drip irrigation in Turkana, Moyale, Ganze, Kitui, Maralal, Isiolo, and Marsabit and in all other arid areas. We need to harness our permanent rivers, build water reservoirs and network of pumping and piping facilities in farms.
It’s important that the Act that created the Kenya National Irrigation Board be revised so that its mandate covers the ASAL areas. Unless we exploit the rain seasons by harnessing the flooding rivers, build dams to conserve water, open up drip irrigation in ASAL areas, we will never be food secure. It’s a shame that we still import maize, our staple food crop from Tanzania and Uganda. We are all getting our priorities wrong.