Neckartal Dam project needs additional N$2bn

March 09, 2023

An additional N$2 billion is required to complete the construction of the Neckartal Dam’s second phase, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has said.

The money will be used for planning, designing, implementing and running the envisaged irrigation scheme.

The Government has already spent N$5.4 billion to set up the dam that has a holding capacity of 800 million cubic metres, making it the biggest dam in the country with the view of collecting water and being used for irrigation and farming purposes.

"We must be going into this project knowing that the financing has not been secured.  When the project started money was readily available, due to the fiscal instability where we found ourselves having depleted the debt avenues, our abilities disappeared. However, this is an important project which cannot be abandoned and left to waste.  Hence, let's put our heads together and come up with a workable and bankable model that will generate revenue," Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Minister Calle Schlettwein said on Thursday.

The Minister said this while addressing local leaders from the //Kharas Region where the dam is situated, when the Ministry was engaging the community to devise ways on how bankable the Neckartal Dam project can be.

“Each operation must be viable and bankable because even the farmers who will be running the farms will need to borrow money from commercial banks to sustain their activities. Thus, the model needs to work, so that we produce more than enough for local consumption and exporting, so that revenue can be generated to pay off the loans and debts, while maintaining food sustainability for the nation,” added Schlettwein.

The Ministry has allocated 5,000 hectares of intensive irrigation land.

"Therefore, let's avoid quarrels and disagreements because they will hinder the main objective,  and later result in all of us losing out because we can't reach consensus on how to run and manage the project into fortunes," he advised.

He said there are various models to choose from such as replicating the green scheme model of having large irrigation areas, complemented by medium components.

The other option, he suggested, will be to subdivide the land into five pieces measuring 1,000 hectares. 

"We have many options, therefore let's all agree and present viable ideas. It is very important to also consider what type of crops, the value thereof and the market where produce can be sold, as forming part of the second phase of planning and design. It is only through a solid foundation we can leverage this project," Schlettwein said. 

The Neckartal Dam Irrigation Scheme is set to receive N$10 million earmarked for irrigation development in the 2023/24 financial year, as mentioned by Finance and Public Enterprises Minister Iipumbu Shiimi in his budget speech in February following proposals by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform to start  with the irrigation activities.

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Last modified on Friday, 10 March 2023 18:26

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