Norad: Drip irrigation systems in Zambia are among the highlights of 2023

Bård Vegar Solhjell, Director of Norad, highlights NCA's micro investment program and drip irrigation systems as one of the positive developments from last year.


When Bård Vegar Solhjell, the Director of Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), was recently interviewed by the Norwegian broadcaster NRK, he highlighted NCA's micro investment program and drip irrigation systems as one of the positive events from last year.

Drip irrigation systems require less water and less labor than traditional irrigation and contributes to lifting farmers out of poverty.

Drip irrigation systems also contribute to improve the position of women in society. In many places, women spend several hours a day fetching water. Now they can use that time for school, education, and paid work.

Life changed when she became a farmer

Besa S. Georgina lives in Musaba in Samfya, Zambia. She is one of those who has received assistance through the micro investment program for farmers.

She and her family have invested in thirteen drip irrigation systems to ensure a consistent water supply during dry periods.

Besa's family had previously made a living from fishing, but Zambia imposed a fishing ban in the area where she lived due to climate change and overfishing. At the same time, Besa was involved in a cycling accident, which resulted in the amputation of a leg, and she became dependent on crutches and a wheelchair.

"We now earn three times as much in agriculture as we did as fishermen. Anything we don't need ourselves, we sell at the market. And if we're hungry, we just go out to the field," says Besa.

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Aiming to reach 6000 farmers

Over a period of five years, from 2019 to 2024, NCA has involved 16,500 farmers who have been enrolled in the project. Each farmer invests approximately 100 NOK in a drip irrigation system.

Photos: Håvard Bjelland/Norwegian Church Aid.