By CHILA NAMAIKO –
THE Government and the European Union (EU) will soon sign a 14 million Euro-project to carry out the climate-smart agriculture, water management and irrigation systems to be implemented in selected districts of the country.
The five-year project, expected to kick-off this year, was aimed at enhancing sustainable and gender sensitive agricultural water management and irrigation systems for the smallholder farmers in selected districts of the lower Kafue-Sub catchment.
European Investment Bank head of regional representation Tom Andersen said yesterday that once the project was completed, it would significantly improve integrated water and land use planning at both local and sub-catchment level.
Mr Andersen said the focus of the project would be on the female farmers traditionally under-represented and disempowered in community based water and land management structures.
He said the project would establish and rehabilitate pilot irrigation sites for smallholder farmers, including sustainable operations practices, efficient water use and innovative up-scaling models.
“The duration of the project is four to five years and will strengthen extension capacities on water use, harvesting and irrigation,” he said.
He said this when he appeared before a Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Water Development and Tourism chaired by United Party for National Development (UPND) Mbabala Member of Parliament Ephraim Bbelemu.
Mr Andersen was submitting on the EU’s supported interventions in the water and sanitation sector in Zambia.
Other ongoing and future investments with EU involvement were promoting improved water supply and sanitation services as well as water management in general.
He said the projects included components targeted specifically to the poor people, towards which EU grant was directed as a lead partner through the European Investment Bank.
He cited the Zambia Water and Sanitation project aimed at improving water and sanitation infrastructure for selected cities on Copperbelt to benefit more than 355,000 residents.
The committee heard that the project was being implemented by Mulenga Water and Sewerage Company.
Another significant project was the Lusaka Sanitation Programme consisting of rehabilitation and expanding sewerage and waste water infrastructure in line with the Lusaka sanitation master plan, a financing agreement signed in November 2017.
He said addressing climate change was another sector EU was working with Government to curb effects citing droughts in some parts of the ountry amplified by challenges of climate change.