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swade acknowledges responsibility

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By Mthunzi Maziya - SWAZI OBSERVER-21-Oct-2009

THE Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) has accepted that it has a huge responsibility of maintaining an irrigation system covering an area of around 16 000 hectares,

THE Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) has accepted that it has a huge responsibility of maintaining an irrigation system covering an area of around 16 000 hectares, much of which is covered by the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP).

Responding to the South African Irrigation Institute’s analysis of the system used at LUSIP, Musa Ngwenya, who is an irrigation engineer at SWADE, said as a result of the many loopholes discovered by SABI, the need was clear for the country to develop a lot more of its own engineers and designers in order to ensure sustainability of the project. Ngwenya said Swaziland as a country has the capacity to manage the project, but there was a dire need to invest in human capital so as to ensure that the resources available were employed fully.

“The area we control would likely grow by a further 8 000 hectares as the LUSIP project is expected to expand in the near future,” he said. He also added that as SWADE, they had a number of issues that needed to be attended to and these include design, project management, especially the field of quality assurance, to make sure that companies supplied them with the right material, as well as maintenance.

“As a company, we feel it is our responsibility and obligation to take the lead in issues of capacity building. We want to make sure we have the necessary engineers, designers and so on. There is also a need to develop the expertise we currently have,” he said. Bongani Bhembe, who is a member of both SABI and SWADE, said studies that were conducted proved that production in any instance where an irrigation facility was in use was directly proportional to the efficiency of that system.

“It is on this premise that I implore all of us to urgently address the problems of poor management that we currently have,” he said. Bhembe also exposed the need to attach Swazis to SABI in order to improve the manner in which the country’s irrigation systems work.


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