Bunyala Irrigation Scheme was started in 1959 with an initial 534 acres under paddy rice production. It has been under production since then. Irrigation water is pumped form River Nzoia and flows by gravity through open earth channel to the farms. Due to increased demand for rice, two new pumps sets were installed in 2005 and two more were also installed in 2007. This brought the combined discharge to 1.2m3/s. With the widening of the main canal, the Scheme acreage was expanded to over 1,600 acres on the left bank of the river. On the right bank of the river, two pump sets (with a capacity of 0.15m3/s each) were also installed in 2007 hence commanding an additional 250 acres at Ruambwa/Mudembi. Currently, the Scheme irrigates 1,880 acres with 1,394 farming households.
Although, long term plans to increase area under irrigation are underway, there is need to take steps that will increase land under irrigation and crop intensity within a short period. The following were carried out;
- Extending the canal at Rwambwa/Mudembi to bring under irrigation additional 250 acres.
- Extending the canal at Magavera area to bring under irrigation additional 250 acres
- Development of the proposed Sifuyo irrigation area to develop 300 acres
- 4. Cropping intensity was increased from 90% to 150% by introducing two crops in a year as opposed to one crop. This has not only reduced field fallow time but has also increased production under the same acreage.
The current expansion commenced on July 2021 with earthworks. Construction of irrigation and drainage structures has also commenced and the area is targeted to be under rice production in the next season since farmers’ sensitization is ongoing.
The irrigation potential in the area is about 20,000 acres (on both banks of the river) with over 20,000 direct beneficiaries spread over Busia and Siaya Counties. About 10% of irrigation potential has been utilized yet the remaining portion is yet to be developed. The Lower Nzoia Irrigation Development Project (LNIDP), once completed will bring under production 10,000 acres on the left bank under the first lot. The second lot will bring similar acreage under irrigation on the right bank. However, it will take 2-3 years before the construction of the first lot is completed. The modalities of the second lot are still under discussion. Nevertheless, there is need to increase irrigated agriculture in the region urgently in order to boost food production as per the Government’s Big Four Agenda.
Due to increased demand for irrigated agriculture in the area, the Scheme has been expanded on both banks of the river as follows;
- Left Bank – Muluwa, Nemali, Munaka, Luwamoro, Nanjomi, Buhowa ,Siamungu Nandikinya & currently Magavera area ;
- Right Bank – Ruambwa/Mudembi phase ( I-V)
Due to the above intervention, the Scheme acreage has expanded from 534 acres in 2006 to over 2,500 acres in 2022.
The Scheme embarked in increasing rice production through;
- Expanding land under irrigation
- Increasing cropping intensity and diversification
- Increasing yield per unit area
The above interventions led to increased food security. In the financial year 2020/2021, the 10,000rice yield increased to tons up from 9,030 tons the previous year.
Figure 4: Farmers at Bunyala scheme rice seedling
- Location/County – Busia County / Siaya County
- Year of establishment – 1964
- Gazetted Area – 534 Acres
- Main Crop – Rice
- Area under Irrigation –3,126 Acres
- Source of irrigation water – River Nzoia
- No. of household farmers – 2,500 Households
- Type of irrigation – Basin irrigation system
- Other Crops – Pulses and Horticulture
Projected Benefits/ Benefits being realized
- Food security
- Employment creation
- Wealth creation thereby improving living standards (e.g. Health, Education, Shelter, and general)