THE Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company (AFECC) has completed the construction of Mwomboshi Dam in Chisamba District nine months ahead of schedule.
President Edgar Lungu is this month expected to commission the country’s biggest irrigation dam which is aimed at boosting crop yield through irrigation.
The project was initially scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2019 but the Chinese firm has beaten the deadline.
Director of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture Peter Lungu said the 1.6-kilometre long structure marks an important milestone in the promotion of integrated agriculture in Chisamba and Central Province as a whole.
The US $28.3 million World Bank funded project has the capacity to hold up 65 million cubic liters, making it Zambia’s largest irrigation dam.
Central Provincial Permanent Secretary Chanda Kabwe inspected the project Wednesday ahead of the commissioning by the Head of State.
Mr Lungu said the project has come with other benefits for the people in area such as roads and electricity.
“This has come with a lot of other benefits already because this area was not accessible before this project but we now have access roads that have been done,” he said.
“We also have power connected to the area and these are just some of the rudimentary benefits that the farming community is getting because of the dam; and traders from as far as Kasumbalesa are now able to come and buy vegetables, tomatoes and unions.”
Mr Lungu said the Government expected the dam to boost crop production and enhancement of food security in the area and would love to replicate the project in other regions of the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Kabwe said President Lungu believed that agriculture was the surest way of lifting people out of poverty and the construction of the irrigation dam had great significance to the head of state.
Mr Kabwe noted that the construction of the dam had come at a time when the population of the province was growing which had created pressure to produce more in order to feed the people.
“We have seen that the population of Central Province is growing; the last census the population was 1.3 million and by 2026 it will be three million so this dam is critical in meeting the food needs of the growing population,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the provincial administration was determined to make the province the national food basket by ensuring that farmers were able to diversify in their crop growing.
The project is part of the US $115 million World Bank funded programme which would see the construction of irrigation dams in Chisamba in Central Province, Mufulira on the Copperbelt as well as Siavonga in Southern.