K2bn More for Wowo Irrigation Scheme in Phalombe
Wowo Irrigation Scheme in Traditional Authority Nkhulambe in Phalombe needs an extra 2 billion kwacha to start benefiting about 1, 600 farmers in the district as the contractor races against time to complete the project by November this year.
The construction of Wowo Irrigation Scheme in Phalombe was a 12-month project implemented by the Program for Rural Irrigation Development (PRIDE) - project in 2021, with initial cost pegged at K3.2 billion.
Speaking during the parliamentary committee on budget and finance’s visit to the construction site in Phalombe, contractor, Hopeson Kanowa, said perennial flooding caused by Cyclones Ana, Gombe and Freddy, caused extensive damage to the structures.
He said: “The River which fed the irrigation scheme changed direction and needs river training, construction of dykes and other structures which will cost about K2 billion.”
The committee’s chairperson, Gladys Ganda, said that the irrigation scheme is paramount to the area’s development since farming is the backbone of the country’s economy.
“Currently we have forex issues in the country, through farming we can do away with such problems and people can also be secure all year round. It is our wish to see that this scheme is finalized in time and start benefiting people in this area, we will do all we can to provide support through parliament.”
Ganda also asked the contractor that, this time, resilient structures be put up, to avert a potential adverse impact of natural calamity in the disaster-prone area.
Traditional Authority Nkhulambe told the visiting members of the budget committee that they have started to lose hope that they will ever use the scheme, given the continued damage of the scheme by the rains.
If funded, under the Program for Rural Irrigation Development (PRIDE) programme, the Wowo project which currently stands at 74 percent, will benefit around 1579 farmers from villages including; Nanyalo, Namahuwa, Dengadenga and Mathikhuwa to a total cost of K5.2 billion.