Zambian President Edgar Lungu instructed the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) to lower water tariffs in order to increase agricultural productivity through irrigation.
The president, speaking at the recent 4th Agritech Expo, said higher water tariffs are counteracting efforts to promote irrigation to effectively mitigate erratic rainfall in light of climatic changes.
“WARMA must immediately revise the water tariffs downward,” Lungu said.
WARMA recently increased water tariffs by as much as 550%, much to the consternation of farmers. They believe it will negatively affect productivity. Some however, believe the hiked fees will encourage prudent water use.
According to WARMA, rainfall is responsible for 160 billion cubic meters of water, but 100 billion of it is lost due to mismanagement.
Lungu said his government will continue to support the research and development of modern agricultural systems like irrigation, as these underpin growth in the sector.
He said the increasing global population presented a huge opportunity for Zambian farmers to take advantage of the available markets for their produce.
“This country is blessed with a good climate and soil which allow cultivation for almost every crop, and we have enough water and abundant resources,” he said.