Government is to construct 11 dams this year in an effort to ensure water security, disclosed Edward Chomba, permanent secretary for Zambia’s ministry of water development, sanitation and environmental protection.
Chomba told local media his ministry had already done mapping in selected areas to construct dams.
“This is to ensure sustainable management of water resources, a key component to our food security,” Chomba said.
According to Chomba, government had already constructed Chikowa dam in Mfuwe and Chibalashi in Mansa, as part of its ambitious programme to increase agricultural production.
Climatic changes have resulted into erratic rain patterns, negatively affecting small-scale farmers who entirely depend on rain for production.
Scaling up irrigation and water harvesting were anticipated to enhance productivity.
Meanwhile, small-scale farmers bemoaned the high cost of well drilling and have asked for government intervention.
Scores of farmers interviewed in Lusaka said well drilling cost between K10 000 and K15 000.
“The costs for well drilling are prohibitive, but increasingly there is a need for farmers to use irrigation for all year farming,” said Dan Tembo, a farmer of Lusaka’s 10 miles.
He said government should consider deploying well drilling equipment owned by the ministry of water and sanitation in rural areas to help small-scale farmers with irrigation.