October 13, 2017
On September 25, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Republic of Zambia in Lusaka for the Expansion of Community-Based Smallholder Irrigation Development Project, a technical cooperation project.
The project will introduce small-scale irrigation facilities at low cost, using local resources, and improve the irrigated land management techniques of smallholder-farmers in six provinces, promoting community-based smallholder irrigation and thereby contributing to an improvement in farmer income in the target areas.
Employing approximately 70 percent of the working population, agriculture is an important sector that, along with mining, supports economic growth in Zambia, but faces the challenges of low production and productivity. Underlying these challenges are factors such as a mere 16 percent of the total arable land being under effective use and almost none of the irrigatable farmland being provided with irrigation facilities. In order to expand production and improve productivity, the amount of farmland must be increased and irrigated agriculture must be promoted. To do so, the Government of Zambia is furthering initiatives with a policy of expanding the amount of irrigated land, but progress is not going according to plan due to factors such as an inadequate budget, and an insufficient number of capable agriculture extension workers.
From March 2013 to June 2017, JICA carried out the Technical Cooperation Project on Community-based Smallholder Irrigation (T-COBSI). In that project, a transfer of technology was made to extension workers and farmers concerning the development of community-based smallholder irrigation along with maintenance and management techniques. With such an approach, farmers personally build simple weirs and other facilities at low cost using wood, bamboo, clay, stones and other local natural materials to effectively use the water of streams and wetlands that are plentiful in Zambia. As a result, more than 900 hectares of newly irrigated land have been developed and farmers have personally advanced small-scale irrigation development, bringing about a steady increase in the amount of land under irrigation.
Building on those project outcomes, this technical cooperation will increase the number of target provinces from three to six, promote the development of small-scale irrigation by extension workers and farmers and enhance management and maintenance capacity. The project will also strengthen agricultural business and marketing skills of targeted farmers. In order to provide support in raising farming incomes, the project will work with the Rice Dissemination Project, which is another ongoing technical cooperation project, as well as collaborate on activities carried out by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.
|Country||Republic of Zambia|
|Project title||The Expansion of Community-Based Smallholder Irrigation Development Project|
|Planned implementation period||January 2018 to December 2022|
|Executing agency||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Target region, facilities||38 districts in Central, Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga, Northern and North-Western Provinces|
|Specific project details (provisional)||Introduction of small-scale irrigation facilities, improvement of irrigated land management techniques for smallholder-farmers, agricultural business and marketing capacity building, promotion of community-based smallholder irrigation in the target areas|