Schlettwein visits Neckartal Dam

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein said his ministry is in the process of looking into methods to finance the Neckartal Dam irrigation scheme.

Schlettwein said this during his familiarisation visit to the dam on Thursday, when he explained that the initial tender for the dam was N.dollars 3.8 billion and because of numerous reasons the bill increased to N.dollars 5.7 billion, which ate into the financial capacity to develop the second phase of the project.

“The economic activity is not the dam, the economic activity of the project is the irrigation, it is a priority for us, it is the largest green scheme we have and the major project in the making,” he said.

Schlettwein said the ministry is considering entering into a public-private partnership to bring in farmers who want to assist the government in paying for the capital project.

“We have to find financial ways in which we can fund the project, it has to be done and will be done as fast as we can,” he added.

The minister said the aim is to make good progress in the next two years, adding that the project will be developed in phases until the whole 5 000 hectares is developed. This will enable production to start as soon as possible and will be financially viable if done bit by bit until all of the 5 000 hectares are developed.

Maize, wheat, dates, grapes, mangos, avocados are some of the crops that will be planted and according to the minister. Animal components and animal fodder can be added as well, he said.

An engineer from the ministry, Nilo Kauari, said the dam is 10 per cent full.

Neckartal Dam is located in the Berseba Constituency and is the largest dam in Namibia with a carrying capacity of about 857 million cubic metres – three times the size of Hardap Dam near Mariental in the Hardap Region.

Schlettwein is on a week-long visit to the region to acquaint himself with projects implemented by his ministry. This follows his appointment as agriculture minister in March.

Source: Namibia Press Agency