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Global Map of Irrigation Areas


The area equipped for irrigation is 103 203 ha [KE01]. The figures refer to year 2003. Irrigated area per province is documented in the table below.

The irrigated was first assigned to projects as indicated by the FAO project database [KE02] and additionally 20 ha of irrigated area was assigned to each project identified by using a map of irrigation schemes [KE03]. The remaining area was distributed to areas that were classified by AFRICOVER as irrigated, rice or coffee [KE04]. Additionally irrigated area was digitized from satellite imagery [KE05] for some areas where irrigation is known to be practised (map in [KE01]). This procedure worked fine for six of the eight provinces. For the Western province only 563 ha irrigated area were reported by the statistics but according to the geographical records there should be more (table below). The FAO project database lists three projects of together 1685 ha irrigated land for this province and additionally 98 schemes were identified on the map of irrigation schemes in Kenya. Thus we would expect to find about 4000 ha irrigated area there. However, to be consistent to the statistics it was decided to distribute 421 ha to the three large projects derived from the FAO project database (25 % of their command area) and the remaining irrigated area was distributed to the 98 small scale schemes (about 1.4 ha to each of them). In contrast, the statistics reported 5803 ha irrigated area for the North Eastern province, while no schemes could be identified there. Because there is also no irrigated crop land, rice or coffee according to AFRICOVER, it was decided to distribute the irrigated area over other cultivated land as derived from AFRICOVER [KE06]. One reason for the differences in spatial data and statistics may be that during the last decade there has been a rapid increase in irrigation development, in particular in the North Eastern province. This development is very likely not enough reflected in the spatial data used here.


[KE01]: FAO. 2005. AQUASTAT country profile Kenya. FAO, Rome, http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/AQUASTAT/countries/index.stm, 12/11/2005.
[KE02]: FAO. 2006. FAO irrigation project data base for Africa. GIS-Database compiled from different sources, available at FAO, Rome, Italy (unpublished).
[KE03]: Unknown. Irrigation schemes in Kenya. Map available in the AQUASTAT-library.
[KE04]: FAO. 2005. AFRICOVER, Kenya - Spatially Aggregated Multipurpose Landcover database, FAO, Rome, Italy, http://www.africover.org, 13/12/2004.
[KE05]: Earth Satellite Corporation, 2004. Landsat GeoCover (2000/ETM+) Edition Mosaics, tiles 071-266, 071-281, 071-698 and 071-705. Sioux Falls, USA, USGS (available at http://glcfapp.umiacs.umd.edu:8080/esdi/index.jsp).
[KE06]: FAO. 2005. AFRICOVER, Kenya - Thematic Agriculture Aggregation, FAO, Rome, Italy, http://www.africover.org, 13/12/2004.

Distribution of irrigated area in Kenya per province:

Province Irrigated area
according to
statistics in 2003
Irrigated area
in FAO project
Number of projects
on the irrigation
scheme map
Area of polygons
extracted from
digitized from
satellite imagery
Central 49 200 5 700 106 300 609
Coast 6 661 3 480 112 32 991
Eastern 13 986 940 210 224 816
Nairobi 2 000 0 1 11 830
North Eastern 5 803 0 0 35 463
Nyanza 8 575 675 189 47 891
Rift Valley 16 415 575 229 87 542
Western 563 1 685 98 4 763
Kenya, total 103 203 11 370 945 745 905
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