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Irrigation policy must be revised – State

MEMORY MANINGA, Lusaka
THE Ministry of Finance says there is need to expedite the revision of the Irrigation Policy to provide guidance for investment that can transform farmers from subsistence to commercial farming.
Making submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Thursday, Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance Mukuli Chikuba called for the upgrading of the Irrigation Engineering Section (IES) in the Ministry of Agriculture to successfully implement irrigation programmes in the country.
Mr Chikuba said Government has prioritised the agriculture sector to diversify the country’s economy and will ensure that the irrigation department has adequate investment to mitigate some of the effects of climate change.
“Irrigation faces a number of challenges ranging from the high cost of putting up irrigation infrastructure. This means small-scale farmers are unable to afford irrigation equipments,” he said.
Meanwhile, Engineering Institute of Zambia president Abel Ng’andu submitted that the development of irrigation in Zambia faces a number of constraints in places such as the southern and central parts of Zambia which have inadequate water supply.
“Feasibility studies should be funded to outline the technical and financial requirements in implementing an inter-basin water transfer system from the water surplus north to the water deficit in the southern region of Zambia,” Mr Ng’andu said

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