Over 60 smallholder farmers in Luanshya are demanding compensation from China National Complete Engineering, the contractor engaged under the Kafulafuta water and sanitation improvement project, for allegedly damaging their crop fields when laying of water pipes.
The farmers are demanding that CNCE compensates them for disturbing their farming activities and livelihoods.
Elvis Chikwati, one of the farmers, said procedure demands that people affected as a result of any development must be compensated before the commencement of the works.
“Over sixty small scale farmers whose livelihood is dependent on agriculture are affected and have hence resolved to demand for compensation from the contractor,” Chikwati said.
He said Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company had engaged the farmers but nothing serious was arrived at during the meeting.
Chikwati said the contractor has no option but to engage the farmers and ascertain how many are affected.
But Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company Planning and Development Manager Paul Billima said it is not every farmer who will be compensated but only those with fields affected as a consequence of the multi-million dollar project.
According to him, only about 15 farmers have been affected.
Billima said the small holder farmers were assured that the contractor will not go ahead with the works until experts from the Ministry of Agriculture are engaged to do the evaluation process.
“We have not damaged any crop unless the contractor has gone ahead without our consent but we can give an assurance that no machine will destroy people’s gardens. We have to look into the concerns raised,” Billima said.
The US $449 million Kafulafuta dam, which is a government funded project through a loan secured from Exim Bank of China, is expected to improve water supply in the four towns of Luanshya, Ndola, Masaiti and Mpongwe once complete.