$115m irrigation funds lies idle



THE US$115 million Irrigation Development Support Fund which was financed by the World Bank in 2011, has not yet been fully utilised.
Four years after the World Bank approved and released the $115 million loan, much of it has not yet been spent due to cumbersome
procedures in the procurement process.


Agriculture and Livestock Minister Given Lubinda said the bureaucracy surrounding the procurement process was hampering implementation of a number of development activities including the irrigation projects.
In April 2011, the World Bank group’s board of executive directors approved the loan which up to now, has not been depleted.
Mr Lubinda said, the irrigation project was still in the pipeline and they would soon be calling for applications from interested
farmers to set up irrigation facilities.


The minister said this in an interview in Lusaka.
He said the major drawback in the implementation of the projects were the long and laborious processes that these were involved in.
“The public procurement is worrying, the vigorous bureaucracy procurement procedures are worrying and are a major concern in many
Government departments and these are affecting the implementation of a number of projects.”


“This is the matter the Government is looking at. We are trying to streamline the processes and you must understand that the Zambia
Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) was established by an Act of Parliament and it means going through the process,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said the Government was expected to develop both large and small irrigation systems that would enhance agricultural productivity.
The objective is to increase yields per hectare and volumes of the products marketed by smallholder farmers benefiting from investments in irrigation in the selected sites.