November 02, 2011
Zambia’s new president Michael Sata has announced that the new government will invest in the construction of more water dams and water harvesting technologies in order to harvest more water for irrigation in a bid to increase food production and food security in the country.
Sata was addressing Parliament.
He noted that the construction of dams will provide a steady flow of water for irrigation by farmers throughout the year and will also be used as sources of drinking water for the people.
Zambia, like many other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, has been hit hard by climate change which has changed the rainfall pattern. As a result, many Zambian small and medium scale farmers have been unable to irrigate their crops due to lack of sufficient funds to construct dams for irrigation.
Sata said however, that the construction of the dams and the investment in water harvesting technologies are aimed at cushioning the effect of climate change that is affecting the country and to allow farmers to grow more food.
Sata said due to insufficient dams, there is also not enough clean drinking water in rural areas resulting in the outbreak of waterborne disease.
Zambia, Sata said is endowed with abundant surface and ground water bodies, which have not sufficiently been harnessed for national water development leaving agricultural to be solely dependent on unpredictable whether pattern as a result of climate change.
“To address this situation, my government will invest in water harvesting technologies to make water available to farmers for irrigation all year round,” Sata said.
The Zambian government, Sata said will not stop the construction of dams in the country to ensure that people in rural areas also have enough clean water. Over the years, there have been conflicts between dam owners and residents’ who draw water from the dams due to lack of enough water flow in the dams.
Three years ago, the Zambian government set aside ZMK37 billion for the construction of dams and canals and for buying peddle and water pumps for irrigation in a bid to boost agricultural production in the country.
The funds resulted in the construction of over five dams in various parts of the country including the mushimbili dam in central part of the country for irrigation and drinking water.
Additional money was also given to the small and medium scale farmers who wanted to boost their off-season food production through irrigation system.