The Zambian government and European Union (EU) are finalising plans to implement a 5-year irrigation project estimated at €14 million.
The project, coming in the wake of intensified calls for investment in irrigation to mitigate erratic rainfall patterns, will be piloted among thousands of smallholder farmers in selected districts of the lower Kafue-Sub catchment.
The project will be biased towards female farmers, who are historically disadvantaged in community-based water and land management structures
The significance of the project is underscored by the fact that the country’s potential of irrigable land is more than 500 000 ha while only 200 000 ha is currently irrigated.
Overdependence on rain-fed crop farming make smallholder farmers highly susceptible to fluctuations in rainfall. In the current farming season massive hectares of maize has been damaged due to a prolonged dry spell.
The irrigation project formed part of EU’s support interventions in the water and sanitation sector in Zambia.