IRRIGATION can increase Zambia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and can cut unemployment by about 12 to 15%, says agriculture economist Dr Edifier Hamukale.

Dr Hamukale said irrigation was capable of greatly enhancing Zambia’s food security.

He added that if properly implemented irrigation can improve the agriculture sector and the economy at large.

“Most of the food we eat come from small scale farmers; so irrigation can improve the country’s food security significantly,’’ Dr Hamukale said.

Irrigation, he added, could increase Zambia’s agriculture revenue from the current 20 percent to about 30 or 40 percent and cut unemployment rate through irrigation.

According to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), agriculture is the main source of income and employment for rural women who constitute more than half of the total rural population.

“From that it may be concluded that an increase in rural incomes will result in overall poverty reduction and increased food,” he said. Mr Hamukale said in order to achieve food security, the country’s main focus should be on agriculture and particularly on irrigation development.

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