Ephantus Kimotho is a certified public accountant (CPA) and the principal secretary in the State Department for Irrigation at the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation in Kenya. Previously, he was principal secretary in the State Department for Forestry at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry.
As principal secretary in the State Department for Irrigation, he is responsible for national irrigation policy and management; water harvesting and storage for irrigation; the management of irrigation schemes; water storage and flood control management; mapping, designating and developing areas ideal for irrigation schemes; the development of irrigation infrastructure; and land reclamation.
Kimotho is currently supporting a government 5-year plan for Kenya (2023‐2028) to increase land under irrigation from 664,000 acres to 1,289,142 acres for agroforestry, food security and climate change resilience; a land reclamation plan to rehabilitate, reclaim and restore 61,750 acres; and a plan to increase water for irrigation from 55.4 MCM to 2,379.2 MCM in order to expand the irrigated production of rice from 193 MT to 700 MT and maize from 18 million kg to 456.75 million kg. To steer the country towards drought resilience, he is spearheading the construction of water pans to supply 296,720,000 cubic metres of water and to harvest 517.5 million cubic metres of water in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). Further, he is overseeing a farmer-led irrigation initiative linking farmers to financial institutions for de-risking the addition of 40,000 acres annually.
As principal secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Kimotho was responsible for implementing the National Forestry Development Policy and led a campaign to grow 15 billion trees for the rehabilitation and restoration of 10.6 million ha of degraded landscapes. He also facilitated the development of the National Forest Policy – whose strategy was to achieve 30 percent tree cover – and the National Strategy and Action Plan for the management and control of the invasive Prosopis juliflora tree species.
Kimotho played a key role in developing the Forest and Landscape Restoration Implementation Plan 2023‐2027, while championing sustainable land management and green value chains for community livelihoods and support systems. During his tenure in the State Department for Forestry, he presided over the formulation of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) frameworks for Kenya with the aim of capturing the total economic value of forest resources. He promoted the development of Kenya’s REDD+ registry and facilitated the landmark signing of a Letter of Intent to supply high-integrity emissions reduction and removal credits to the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance). Kenya was the second African nation to sign the agreement with Emergent, the administrative coordinator of the LEAF Coalition.