President Edgar Lungu says Zambia has turned a new page in the advancement of irrigation agriculture through the construction of the 61 million cubic metres water storage capacity Mwomboshi Dam and reservoir in Chisamba district, Central Province.
President Lungu says the Mwomboshi Dam project is a stamp on the Patriotic Front government’s significant strides being made in infrastructure development aimed at fostering national development.
The President said construction of the dam is in fulfillment of the PF’s manifesto on increasing management and utilisation of water resources for agricultural development.
The President said this during the official handover of Mwomboshi dam which has been constructed at a total cost of 28 million United States dollars by a Chinese contractor Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company.
The Head of State noted that management and utilisation of water resources for agricultural development will be achieved by constructing at least one large scale dam per province such as Mwomboshi to irrigate massive hectares, establishing irrigation schemes and facilitating of private investment in dams and irrigation infrastructure among other actions.
He said his administration envisage to roll out bulk water irrigation infrastructure projects like Mwomboshi across the country.
And the President has challenged all contractors in the country to emulate the work culture and dedication which the Chinese contractor has exhibited by not only completing the construction of the dam ahead of schedule but also constructing the dam using world class standards of equality and efficiency.
Farmers comprising of smallholders and emergent farmers north of the dam as well as large scale commercial farmers have subscribed to paying for irrigation water from the facility to ensure long term sustainability and viability.
Approximately 4,000 hectares of land will be brought under irrigation with atleast 1,500 hectares under smallholder farmers.
Speaking earlier, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction project manager Jiatao Kan gave the scope of the works that have been done on the dam and stated that the project has been completed and handed over 9 months ahead of the schedule.
Mr. Kan told the President that his company observed safety measures during the period of construction and hailed the existing Zambia Chain relations which has seen the implementation of various projects including the dam.
And Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo pointed that construction of the dam and reservoir will help the province stop relying on rain fed agriculture.
Mr. Katambo said the dam will also work as an adaptation measure to the climate change which the country is currently faced with.
He added that the irrigation family will ensure food security not only for Central Province but the entire country.
The President earlier toured the dam and later award the contractor with plaques for completing the project ahead of the schedule.
The Mwomboshi dam and reservoir project was financed using a loan from the World Bank under the Irrigation Development and Support Project (ISDP).