Zambia’s Agriculture Minister says the creation of functional institutions that govern and regulate usage of water resources is a first step in ensuring equitable usage of water by the various sectors.
According to a press statement released to the media by Yvonne Shibemba, the First Secretary Press and Public Relations
Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in GERMANY, Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya was speaking at the on-going 2017 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin during a High-Level Panel discussion organized by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) focusing on “Agricultural leadership in water scarce world”
She noted the importance of the Water Rights System as a tool to ensuring that the Agriculture sector receives a fair share of the allocation of water.
“In Zambia, this has been achieved through the creation of a Water Resource Management Authority whose task is to ensure that surface water is equitably shared among the competing needs of agriculture, drinking water and energy sectors,” Hon. Siliya said.
She explained that the creation of the Water Resources Management Authority would help towards monitoring the performance of the water usage, and with that targets would be obtainable if developing countries, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa are assisted by Developed countries.
The Minister however observed that although Zambia has sufficient water to meet most of the competing needs, significant infrastructure investment was needed to make this water available to farmers.
She further advised that one of the major policy initiatives to make agriculture more efficient is to locate major irrigation projects downstream of energy projects.
She identified the Farm-block model as one ideal model to ensure that large irrigation scale and smallholder farmers all benefit from irrigation infrastructure investments.
She said the Zambian Government was implementing the Irrigation Development Support Project supported by the World Bank that aims to construct dams to support clusters of large scale farms and smallholder farms to access water for irrigation.
Agriculture Minister noted that reliable access to water for agriculture with improved irrigation infrastructure could reduce vulnerability to drought and floods and provide higher and more stable yields.
The Minister concluded by stressing the need for adequate investment in storage and technology transfer. She added that the Zambian Government has encouraged the private sector to increase their investment in storage and food processing.
The Minister is currently in Berlin attending the 2017 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) as well as the 9th Agriculture Ministers’ conference. GFFA is an international annual conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. It is held during the International Green Week (IGW) and it is taking place in its current shape for the ninth (9th) time.
This year, GFFA organized by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is being held under the theme “Agriculture and Water – Key to Feeding the World”.