You are on page 1of 6


Magoya Gravity Irrigation System

Johannes Odhiambo
Magoya Community
Development of Magoya Gravity Irrigation

A concept note submitted to

Ministry of Water and Irrigation
Maji House

Orodi Odhiambo

The Magoya Community


Mr. Bernard Onyango

District Irrigation Officer, Siaya
Tel 0725720237

Magoya shall be like the garden of Eden Ezk 36:34-35


Magoya gravity irrigation project is proposed to be located in Magoya and Asango sub-
locations of Uholo West and Uholo North Locations, Ugunja Division of Ugenya District,
Kenya. The project site forms part of the middle parts of the land catchment of Nzoia river
basin in the wider Lake Victoria Basin.

The area receives an annual rainfall of 1200mm and has an evapo-transpiration of 2000mm.
The rainfall pattern is bimodal and is characterized by the occurrence of 10-15 days intra
seasonal dry-spells which often lead to serious crop failures in the area due to the high
evaporation rates and the poor water holding capacity of the soils.

The farming system is dominated by use of traditional techniques based on limited use of
agricultural farm inputs. The production levels of both crops and livestock products are often
below subsistence requirements. The current yield of maize which is the major food crop
stands at 5-8 bags/acre. Milk yields are a paltry 300mls to 1000mls per cow per milking due
to dependence on indigenous breeds and free grazing on un-improved pasture fields.
Consequently, the area experiences an annual food deficit worth over four million shillings.
These food deficits are now resulting in increasing poverty levels and poor health standards
due to malnutrition. Over 60% of the children under the age 5 years are underweight a factor
attributed to malnourishment. 60% of the population is categorized as living below the
poverty line eking a living on less than one dollar per day.

On the other hand, poor rainwater management in the area is now the cause of surface runoff
which is contributing to soil erosion and subsequently generating sediment flow into Lake
Victoria. Increased land degradation is expected to further aggravate the food security
situation and poverty levels unless mitigation measures are undertaken.


To develop a gravity fed medium scale irrigation system on 1000 ha of Magoya and Asango,
Kenya, for the production of high value crops for domestic use and income generation with
waters harnessed from Kisama and Lisumu tributaries of River Nzoia.

Project Goals
• Increase production and availability of food crops to a level of household sufficiency
from less than 0.5t/acre to over 10t/acre in three years through improved water and land
productivity using gravity fed surface irrigation.

• Increase income generation from production of crops for sales for households with a
per capita increase from less than US$ 1 per day to over US$ 4/day per within the onset of the

• Promotion of utilization of high nutritive value crops as the baseline for enhancing
community health through improved nutrition by growing green and ripe bananas, nuts for
oil, vegetables (Kales, cabbages, tomatoes, onions, brinjals, sweet pepper and cucumbers) and
spices ( garlic, cinnamon).

Magoya shall be like the garden of Eden Ezk 36:34-35

• Convert the poorly utilized 1000 ha land into a commercial agricultural field by
designing, constructing and commissioning a gravity fed cooperative managed surface
irrigation system.

• Enhancement of community capacity for management of water for food and

environmental conservation.

Rationale and Justification

The project aims at improving water management both for food production and environmental
conservation. This fits within the objectives of the national agricultural and water polices
which emphasize improvement of food security and good management of water for wealth
creation and environmental sustainability. The entire landscape of Magoya and Asango has a
total land area of 1000 ha in the plains of Nzoia River which is technically feasible for gravity
fed irrigation.

The existing practice of bucket irrigation by the local community forms a good basis for
scaling and upgrading the irrigation system to gravity fed and market oriented irrigation
system that could cover the 1,000 ha of land. Farm trials conducted under a collaborative
framework by University of Nairobi, Ministry of Agriculture and RELMA, indicated that
yields of crops planted under proper management of water and the land resource base could
fetch up to Kshs 800,000/ha/year.

On implementation of the project, food production and income generation could increase in
the area from a mere 8000 Kshs./ ha to over Kshs.600,000/ha per year enabling the area to
rake in up to Kshs. 40 million annually. Expected output will increase from the current 2
tones to over 20 tones/ha per year making thus addressing food insecurity problems in the
area and by extent the country.

A ready market for the produce exists within the local area at Ugunja, Kisumu and Siaya
towns. Linkages with fresh fruit exporters to orient production to market demands are
expected to be developed during project implementation and better prospects in this regard are
in the offing with the upgrading work currently ongoing on Kisumu Airport to International

Finally, most households in the area are led by women who are either widows or resident
home managers. The 1,000 homesteads in the project area is home to some 6,000 people who
will benefit directly from these project. When the factor of value addition and market oriented
production are factored, then the implementation of the project will go along in addressing the
Vision 2030 strategies which emphasizes developing the country to middle income status in
the next 20 years.

Expected Results and Spin off benefits

• Improved access to increased and sufficient supply of high value crops

• Improved health of the people
• Increased cash flow and income of the people projected at Kshs 40 million annually

Magoya shall be like the garden of Eden Ezk 36:34-35

• Enhancement of Livestock production in the area through increased feed from biomass
and access to water
• Enhancement of fish farming in the area through the use of the canal system
• Environmental conservation
• Redefined roles for women and girl child as the more productive system will attract
the male laborers to farm work

Approaches and Activities

Field survey and design works

The work will cover office and field work. The desk work will involve literature review, and
revising past designs done by the Lake Basin Development Authority. Data collection will
involve soil and water, crop cuts, topographic and hydro-geological surveys, ground water
mapping and market survey. Participatory survey and design of the system will also be

Capacity Building
Community mobilization and empowerment will be done through PRAs, expository tours and
visits to Ahero, Bunyala and Mwea Irrigation Schemes. Field days, study tours, audio visuals,
Barazas and mass media and bill boards will be utilized to sensitize the community. Capacity
to uptake technology will be enhanced through mobilization of local community financial
resources while providing financial support to the most vulnerable groups for acquisition of
farm inputs.

Design finalization, construction and installation

Project designs will be produced while construction of the main, secondary canals and field
distribution systems will be participatory based on food for works program and Kazi Kwa
Vijana initiatives. The project will put in place a 20 km multipurpose canal ( for navigation,
fish farming and water conveyance), a secondary and field supply net works to provide water
for irrigating 1,000 hectares of high value horticultural crops, provide midstream barrages
for on farm water storage to increase per capita water storage and also act as flood mitigation
points. The tail flow of the canal and midstream barrages will be used as point sources for
mini and pico hydropower development to provide the needed energy for running the value
addition agro and fish processing systems.

Monitoring and Evaluation

A monitoring and evaluation system that is farmer based, participatory and continuous will be
put in place

Activities and Milestones

Activities Milestones
Survey ( Topo, hydro geological, soils, Project Reports, Baseline survey data, video and
surface picture clips
Water and ground water mapping), socio-
economic ,
Minor field study.
Designs and Environmental Impact Engineering design of irrigation and runoff systems,
Assessment EIA report
Participatory Construction Intake works and Main Canal and secondary canals
Cropping and commissioning High value crops produced and working irrigation
system in place

Magoya shall be like the garden of Eden Ezk 36:34-35

Capacity building (Training, tours, input Knowledge base, exposure, capacity to uptake
provision, set up of cooperative technologies, established institutional frameworks
management system (for credit and
marketing) and strengthen the Water
User’s Associations

Beneficiaries and Strategy for Impact

At least 6,000 people will benefit directly while some 100,000 people will benefit indirectly.

Indicative Project Costs

Activity Materials Cost
Survey and Design Contracted surveyor and design firm 10,000,00
Construction Off take weirs, Intakes, main canal and secondary 70,000,000
lines & feeder systems
Capacity building Study tours and field days, credit input, establishment 10,000,000
of institutions
Monitoring and evaluation Training, field measurement and monitoring 10,000,000
framework equipment, data collection and transmission
Facilitation of field staff 600,000
Total 100,600,000

Magoya shall be like the garden of Eden Ezk 36:34-35