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Lusitu Irrigation Scheme

The Lusitu project site is located on the left bank of the Zambezi River downstream of Kariba Dam and about 15kms south of Chirundu in Lusaka Province. The scheme is located at latitude 16° 06’ 32” south and longitude 28° 50’ 31” east at an elevation of 382 meters above mean sea level (AMSL). The site is centred on the village of Sitinkwi which is divided into about 14 sub-villages on customary land under the administration of Chief Chipepo

 

Lusitu site comprises a mix of traditional farmers on a gross area of 5,000ha with an average cultivated area of around 1000ha. Most smallholders cultivate rainfed crops but two village groups, comprising 23 farm families, are linked into the Simanyangu-Sikanyulu Cooperative Society and have benefited from funds and equipment provided under the Gwembe-Tonga project (2003-2005) to irrigate about 35ha of land close to the river. The main crops grown at the Lusitu site are dry season vegetables (cabbages, tomatoes, and onions), bananas, green mealies, and maize. The nearby 11 KvA Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) power line has allowed the installation of two pump houses and an electric fence to prevent elephant and hippo depredation of the crops grown. Rainfed farmers grow maize and bananas in the rainy season and have livestock as well.

 

The area targeted by IDSP for the development of the irrigation scheme is estimated at 242 Ha broken down as follows:

·         Tier 1 - 92ha-For Small Scale Farmers – 200 Plots of ? 0.50ha Hose furrow

·         Tier 2 - 30ha-For Medium Scale Farmers – 14 Plots of ? 2.70ha Micro-jets

·         Tier 3 - 120ha-For Medium/Commercial Scale Farmers – 34 Plots of ? 2.70ha Micro-jets

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The MoA-Technical Services Branch (TSB) undertook a “pre-feasibility study” on the site in 2007 and recommended an initial scheme of 250ha on a potential area of 5,000ha. The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) funded the Mid Zambezi Project preparation (2006-2007) also investigated the site and recommended minor rehabilitation of the existing irrigated area (24ha at the time) and expansion of an additional 30ha. The latter project also identified the (14kms including a small bridge) access road as a constraint during the rainy season.

 

The existing irrigation scheme pumps water from the Zambezi to a central reservoir from which water gravitates for surface irrigation to the farm plots. Pumping lifts are low and water is not a constraint as the site is downstream of the hydroelectric power dam at Kariba.

 

The area surrounding the site is not heavily populated and the closest towns are Chirundu and Siavonga. Most vegetable and other produce are sold in Lusaka either direct to the market or via traders purchasing crops at the farm gate. The distance to Lusaka from the project area is over 120 km and the travelling time is about 2-3 hours. There is good tarred road access from Chirundu town to Lusaka although the road from Chirundu town to the project area is not tarred and could not be passable at times in the rainy season.