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Expedite dam construction

THE Civil Society for Poverty Reduction Zambia (CSPR) has urged Government to expedite the construction of dams to promote irrigation farming in view of climate change.
Zambia, in partnership with the World Bank, is overhauling the irrigation sub-sector where the bank has given US$115 million credit for the Irrigation Development and Support Project (IDSP).
CSPR says with construction of dams for irrigation purposes, farmers across the country could be helped to boost productivity.
This is contained in a report submitted before the parliamentary committee on agriculture chaired by Rufunsa Member of Parliament Kenneth Chipungu last week.
“Zambia has not been spared from the negative effects of climate change and global warming since 2013 when the country started recording below normal rainfall patterns and the effects have been worsening each year.
“As a matter of serious national importance, CSPR wishes to advise Government through the committee to take serious steps and urgent policy measures in promoting irrigation farming using dams if the country is to survive from the negative consequences caused by global warming,” the report states.
However, this year, Government intends to develop three irrigation schemes to enable farmers continue with agricultural activities despite the change in weather patterns.
The three irrigation schemes will be established at Mwomboshi in Chisamba, Lusitu in Siavonga and Musakashi in Mufulira.
On the farmer input support programme (FISP), CSPR notes that while it appreciates Government’s position on the implementation of the programme and the Food Reserve Agency for buying maize, there is need to exercise fiscal discipline in the process.
The programme is key in addressing food security and income levels, especially for small-scale farmers.
The organisation cited programmes such as research, irrigation and livestock development as having not received attention from the national budget, hence the need for Government to place emphasis on the programmes.
CSPR also says the private sector should be allowed to play a bigger role in maize marketing while Government’s role should be to regulate trade to ensure cost-reflective market prices that are offered to farmers.
“While we appreciate Government’s position and humility to buy extra maize, which is not budgeted for, we would like to advise Government to maintain fiscal policy discipline and avoid over- expenditure,” CSPR says.