Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA), covers Machakos, Tana River, Meru, Makueni, Kajiado, Kiambu and Kitui Counties. These areas experience frequent droughts and unpredictable rainfall, which have devastating effects on the economy and livelihoods. The failure of the 2010 and 2011 seasonal rains followed by the rainfall deficits in the 2012 season virtually halted crop production and alarmingly reduced the water table. This situation has exposed the population in South-eastern Kenya to extreme weather conditions and increased vulnerability of these communities.
In Emali area of Makueni County, TARDA has proposed to construct a milk cooling and processing facility guided by the fact that the area has a good supply of milk but farmers do not get maximum benefits from the produce, a site of 5 Acres land has been identified and put aside for construction. River Yuu was once permanent (three years ago) filled up with aquatic life including crocodiles and hippos. It is a backbone to those living near it. Today it’s a seasonal river and the community who depend on it for water have to wait each day for water to collect enough and flow downwards. TARDA has proposed to construct a check dam on TARDA land in TARDA Pilot Irrigation Scheme in Kibwezi area, to hold water during rainy season which will be released later to River Yuu to be used by the locals.
In Machakos County, TARDA will put up a fish cold storage plant to serve the Ekalakala beach management members of Masinga dam area. Masinga dam has numerous amounts of fish which is a source of income to many areas especially the beach management units. However, most of the fish go to waste due to high temperatures in that area. The fish cold storage plant will be of great benefit to the locals.
One of the challenges is the issue of the land to put up a milk cooling plant at Emali, TARDA offered to give part of its project land. Another challenge was unrestricted fishing at the dam which has resulted to low prices. The beach Management unit and other stakeholders to make regulations to guide fishing on the dam. Human-wildlife conflict on the farms bordering Mwea animal reserve. It was agreed that trees will be planted along the river bank to keep off wildlife.