A SENIOR Research Officer at Arid Zones Research Institute in Tunisia has called on the agriculture sector in Zambia to embark on irrigation in areas that receive low rainfall.
Dr. Mohamed Overssiar says Zambia should take a leaf from the Tunisian water harvesting technologies by engaging in irrigation of high value crops in provinces that have dry spells.
He said that Zambia has vast potential in irrigation that can be utilized by farmers following the delayed starting of the rain season in Southern Province during the 2015/2016 farming season.
He was speaking in an exclusive interview with the National Agricultural Information Services during the Water Harvesting for Rainfed Africa (WAHARA) meeting held at Chrismar Hotel in Livingstone, yesterday.
Dr. Overssiar noted that farmers in Southern Province have potential to increase crop production and productivity through supplementary irrigation and harvesting rain water to overcome perpetual dry spells affecting the province due to climate change.
The impact of water harvesting technologies implemented by WAHARA in Tunisia is better control of droughts by promoting production of olives by farmers, he said.
Dr. Overssiar explained that ground water aquifers in Tunisia have been promoted by the Water Harvesting for Rainfed Africa project funded by the European Union.
And Zambia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Tunisia are among the four African countries that have benefited from WAHARA project.
According to WAHARA Project coordinator Dr. Rudi Hessel, the four countries are among those that have greatly benefited from the project.
Dr. Hessel said water harvesting also provides the opportunity to turn hotspots into hope-spots that will lead the way to agriculture-led development.
WAHARA is a five year project implementing diverse water harvesting technologies in the recipient countries to turn hotspots to hope-spots through increased food security.