TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE World Bank has disbursed US$115 million for the construction of a dam in Chisamba and the implementation of irrigation schemes in selected areas.
The Ministry of Agriculture under the Irrigation Development Support Programme (IDSP) has since signed four contracts and the implementation of the projects has started to increase crop production to boost food security in the country.
IDSP project coordinator Barnabas Mulenga said the dam will be constructed in Chisamba’s Mwomboshi area and also an irrigation scheme while the other areas include Lusitu in Siavonga and Musakashi in Mufulira.
In an interview on Monday in Chisamba, Dr Mulenga said the objective of the projects is to enhance the capacity of small-scale farmers to engage in irrigation, create employment and alleviate poverty in the areas.
“We started the construction of the Momboshi dam in February this year and it is expected to be completed in a period of three years but the contractor is likely to do it in a space of two and half years while the Mwomboshi scheme will be implemented within a period of two years and 6,000 commercial and smallholders farmers are expected to benefit.
“In Lusitu, we will develop 600 hectares [of irrigation] with 4,000 beneficiaries to be implemented in one and half years and the Musakashi one will benefit 5,600 farmers,” Dr Mulenga said.
The project, which is being funded by World Bank, will include construction of 457 houses for the displaced residents.
Commenting on the development, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said the dam will help farmers to stop depending on rain-fed agriculture and venture into irrigation to increase their yields and income levels.
Ms Siliya said this when she toured the Mwomboshi dam and irrigation scheme projects.
“I am happy to hear that you will complete the project before the stated time and for the support given to people affected who have been provided with houses and farming land.
“With the dam, the future of agriculture in the areas is bright and this will support Government’s programme of promoting irrigation,” she said.