JICA ir­ri­ga­tion scheme em­pow­ers Mwense farmers

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By MUKOSELA KASALWE in Mwense

THE Munwa ir­ri­ga­tion project in Mwense funded by the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment has en­abled ben­e­fi­cia­ries to grow toma­toes which are on high de­mand from Con­golese buy­ers who of­fer a higher price for the com­mod­ity, says project chair­man Alarm Kaunda. The wa­ter ir­ri­ga­tion scheme, which started in 2013, was funded by the Ja­panese Gov­ern­ment through the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency ( JICA) at an ini­tial in­vest­ment of K 198,000. Ja­panese am­bas­sador to Zam­bia Heinobu Sobashima, who toured the project on Tues­day, said Ja­pan was de­ter­mined to help Zam­bia di­ver­sify its econ­omy from re­liance on di­min­ish­ing re­sources like cop­per to agri­cul­ture as out­lined in the Sev­enth Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan ( 7NDP). The Munwa ir­ri­ga­tion project draws wa­ter from Munwa stream and, through a canal, dis­trib­utes it through­out the year to 17 farmer house­holds who grow toma­toes, cas­sava and maize. Mr Kaunda said the project had em­pow­ered the ben­e­fi­cia­ries who sold as much as K7, 000 to K 10, 000 worth of toma­toes to Con­golese buy­ers. “We would like to thank the Ja­panese Gov­ern­ment for bring­ing such a project which en­ables us to make money which in turn helps us send our chil­dren to school. Mean­while, the con­struc­tion of Mu­sangu ground wa­ter tank (MGWT) with a 120, 000 litre ca­pac­ity which serves about 32, 000 peo­ple has elated the ben­e­fi­cia­ries. The wa­ter tank project was un­der phase three Sus­tain­able Op­er­a­tion and Main­te­nance Pro­gramme (SOMAP). MGWT, chair­man, Gib­son Chip­ili said the wa­ter tank project had had not only re­duced the long dis­tances peo­ple cov­ered in search of wa­ter but that it had min­i­mized the risk of the out­break of wa­ter­borne dis­eases. MGWT trea­surer Hellen Mumba said each house­hold promptly paid a monthly fee of K5 to ac­cess wa­ter, adding that the money was banked for use in case the tank needed repairs. She said the com­mu­nity had a sense of own­er­ship and re­spon­si­bil­ity to take care of the wa­ter tank. And head­man Chisonge in whose area a wa­ter pump was sit­u­ated said the project had ex­cited the com­mu­nity.

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