Irrigation potential and investment return in Kenya

The potential for irrigation investments in Kenya is highly dependent upon geographical, agronomic and economic factors that need to be taken into account when assessing the long-term viability and sustainability of planned projects. This study analyzed large dam-based and small-scale irrigation potential and investment needs for Kenya based on agronomic, hydrological, and economic factors. The analysis of small-scale irrigation expansion shows that the potential for investment in small-scale projects in Kenya ranges from 54,000 ha to 241,000 hectares, with an internal rate of return from 17% to 32%. For the dam-based investment analysis, under low-cost assumption, 58 dams of 73 are profitable (IRR > 0). At high cost level, the number is 52. If we raise the IRR cutoff value to 12%, 32 dams are economically feasible. We showed that there is considerable scope for the expansion of both dam-based and small-scale irrigation in Kenya, and we also provided a strategic prioritization for investments in irrigation schemes and projects.