Business

State, AWF save €1.6m for smallholder irrigation

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE African Water Facility (AWF), in partnership with Government, has set aside €1.6 million funding for the preparation of a project for up-scaling smallholder irrigation as a strategy for climate change adoption.
AWF, hosted and managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), is an initiative that assists African countries to mobilise resources for the water and sanitation sector.
The intervention is expected to improve the living conditions and climate change resilience of smallholder farmers in the country.
According to a statement posted on the organisation’s website recently, AWF will contribute a total of €1.4 million representing 87.5 percent funding while Government will provide the remaining €200,000 representing 12.5 percent.
“The Zambian smallholder farming community is highly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and climate change. This situation poses significant challenges towards attaining water security, sustaining crop productivity, maintaining economic growth and improving livelihoods.
“Rain-fed subsistence agriculture, widely practised in Zambia, is increasingly under pressure from erratic rainfall patterns, and has failed to significantly raise crop productivity, or to smoothen out seasonal cycles of hunger and food insecurity,” it says.
The statement says the proposed intervention offers an opportunity to identify and prepare potential irrigation investments in 25 sites leading to the opening of an additional 9,560 hectares of irrigated land for 4,800 smallholder households
Commenting on the development, AWF director Mohamed El Azizi said despite Zambia’s irrigation potential, it has not identified and appraised sufficient available sites to boost irrigation coverage.
“There are currently insufficient feasibility studies to cover technical, market, economic and financial analysis available to the government to make informed investment decisions,” he said.

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