News Column

Nega-Nega Irrigation Scheme Ready - AFDB

July 3, 2014

Judith Namutowe

THE more than 590-hectare Nega -Nega smallholder irrigation scheme is ready, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) 2013 annual report has said.

According to the report, the Nega -Nega scheme was ready although the contractor was yet to rectify some of the defects identified during the certification process.

The Nega-Nega irrigation scheme is aimed at increasing food security and household incomes.

The Government contracted a loan of US$7.67 million and a grant of $1.1 million from AfDB, with another grant of $10 million from Finland towards the implementation of six smallholder irrigation schemes under the Small-Scale Irrigation Project (SIP) in Lusaka and Southern Province.

AfDB senior agricultural officer Lewis Bangwe said of the 595 hectares of land, 35 hectares of sugar cane has been planted as nursery, and was expecting to plant 220 hectares of land by September this year.

Mr Bangwe, who said the rest of the land would be planted sometime next year, added that the irrigation scheme project would benefit about 165 households, with each farmer receiving four hectares.

And the report said a company to manage the scheme for farmers has since been registered and the workers have been recruited. It said Zambia Sugar and Mazabuka Cane Growers Association (MCGA) undertook to support the scheme by the end of 2013.

The report said Zambia Sugar would provide technical and planting material support, while MCGA provided $29,000 to help surveying and land levelling on one part of the scheme.

"Tendering for the levelling of the rest of the scheme is currently going on," said the report.

Launching the project in Lusaka recently, Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Pertti Anttinen said irrigation development in Zambia could unlock 70 per cent of the country's untapped natural water resources and increase food production.

He said with improved access to appropriate irrigation technologies, smallholder farmers can increase agricultural productivity and production including diversification to other crops other than maize.

Smallholder farmers can also generate income year round and switch from subsistence production to market-oriented production, with higher yielding and higher-value crops, he said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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