A consortium of six commercial farmers in Serenje District of Central Province have come together under the umbrella name Luombwa Irrigation Company to construct a dam at a cost of US $12-million.
The proposed Upper Luombwa Community Dam to be constructed in Muchinda Chiefdom will have a capacity of 83-million cubic metres of water when filled to the brim and a back flow of 6.1 kilo metres.
And speaking when he visited the proposed site for the dam over the weekend, Central Province Permanent Secretary (PS), Chanda Kabwe, said government would want to change the way of doing farming.
Mr Kabwe said the country’s dependence on rain fed agriculture has not helped the nation much for 54 years and that the provincial administration in Central Province would want to use other God given natural resources such as rivers to drive the agricultural sector.
The PS said his provincial team will not sit and watch the rivers throw the waters into the ocean without benefitting from them.
He added that the construction of the second largest dam in the province will help the farming community in the region to engage in irrigation farming throughout the year.
Mr Kabwe indicated that the provincial administration is supporting the construction of the dam in order to grow the agricultural sector for the province be the food basket not only for the nation but the entire region and beyond.
He stressed that government understands that by 2025 the population will increase and that 40 per cent of that population will be in Africa.
“We do understand as a nation that by 2025 the world population will increase and of that increase about 40 per cent is from Africa.
Therefore, the demand for agricultural produce, in terms of food will be on the increase and we need to position ourselves as Central Province not only to feed Zambia but the continent at large,” he stated.
He observed that the dam to be constructed will support irrigation and livestock as well as fish caging throughout the year.
Mr Chanda noted that the dam will both in the short and long terms create jobs for the local people, especially youths.
He asserted that the dam will help increase production throughout the year as it is the only sure way to wade people out of poverty.
He further said the project once completed will stir the country to achieve the vision 2030 of being a middle income nation.
And Serenje Town Council Water Supply and Sanitation Coordinator, David Sakala, said the project has received great support from the community and the traditional leadership in the area.
Mr Sakala said the mapping established that 83 families will be affected by the project but that only 23 will require complete relocation.
He said so far 20 out of the 23 households have already been resettled in Chief Kabamba’s Chiefdom, adding that preparations are progressing well and have reached an advanced stage.
He added that the project is only awaiting statutory clearance by the Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) and Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA).
Mr Sakala explained that the 12 million-Dollar project is only for the first phase for the construction of the dam and its security features.
He noted that other salient features of the dam will include fishing and irrigation schemes, boat cruise and a country club.
He indicated that the company will also work on the access roads and will adopt the local community school as part of its Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR).