President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday read the riot act to his Cabinet, saying their honeymoon was over and non-performers would be sacked.
The President was speaking at Galana Ranch where he said that the one million acre Galana-Kulalu irrigation project must succeed and warned Cabinet and Principal Secretaries that the time for excuses is over.
Citing the Bura irrigation project which failed, President Kenyatta said under no circumstance will laxity be tolerated in the implementation of the Galana-Kulalu project.
“Time for familiarization is over and you have to deliver. Those who will not deliver will have to pack and go,” President Kenyatta told Cabinet and Principal Secretaries.
Kenyatta kicked off the Jubilee Coalition’s landmark irrigation project by commissioning a 10,000 acre Galana-Kulalu model farm.
He said the model farm will reveal the potential investment opportunities that exist in the region.
“It is part of our plan to irrigate one million acres of land in the next five years,” President Kenyatta said.
He also launched consultancy services whose output will deliver investment opportunities in the flagship project.
The President said the irrigation project will ensure food security for all Kenyans and encouraged public-private partnerships in its implementation.
“For us to meaningfully develop, we must implement programs that will ensure food security for all our people in line with our Constitution,” the President said.
He said when people have sufficient food and are busy producing it, there will be no idleness while security and social problems will be reduced.
The President pointed out that the Galana-Kulalu Food Project will have substantial area under irrigation as a strategy and entry point for integrated farming for crop, livestock and fish production for local consumption and export. He added that produce from the project will not only ensure national food security but also create wealth and employment opportunities.
“With this program, we aim to produce enough food crops, livestock and fish to feed our people while generating revenue and employment,” the President said.
He said the project will address challenges of food security with associated high cost of living, rising food driven inflation, poverty and growing social and political instability.
Saying 2014 is the year that the Jubilee manifesto comes alive, the Head of State said many of the projects launched last year will take off in earnest.
“Projects like LAPPSET, the Standard Gauge Railway Line, the Green Field Airport Terminal, and our energy projects that target 5,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 36 months, mean that we have chosen a path of transformation, which we intend to stay,” the President said.
The President said the irrigation project will be implemented strategically to take advantage of the LAPSSET road and rail networks, airports and the proximity to the sea.
“All these will ensure efficient movement of produce to markets. The program will further spur growth of associated industries creating jobs and wealth,” the President said.
He added that the project will serve as a practical training centre of excellence for young professionals and ensure increased efficiency in agricultural production by use of mechanization and modern technologies in farming.
Tailor-made capacity building will be carried out in the local communities to ensure that new technologies are put to use to control livestock diseases such as tsetse and trypanosomiasis, the President said.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskey disclosed that 500 acres will be under maize production, sugarcane will occupy 200 acres, 150 acres will be used for livestock keeping, 100 acres under horticulture while 50 acres will be put under crop rotation.
Leaders from Kilifi and Tana River counties led by Kilifi Woman Representative Aisha Katana, Governors Amason Kingi and Hussein Dado supported the irrigation project.