Mbabane: High Commissioner of India to Eswatini Radha Venkataraman has handed over an amount of E3 532 366 (US$ 200 000) towards the second and final installment of (US$ 400 000) that was pledged by the Republic of India for the Lubuyane Irrigation Project, Maphaleleni in the Hhohho Region.
(The amounts were calculated based on exchange rates as of Friday, August 7).
The funding was initiated by the President of India Honorable Shri Ram Kovind during his State visit to the Kingdom of Eswatini in April 2018. The first installment of the funding was released in October 2019 after the award of work to the contractor selected through tendering process by the Government of Eswatini.
Speaking during the press conference held at the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday morning, High Commissioner of India to Eswatini Radha Venkataraman said the project is aimed at assisting numerous homesteads of Maphalaleni of the Hhohho region. Venkataraman added that this initiative is meant to assist the Maphalaleni folks to move from subsistence farming to commercial level of farming through the provision of irrigation water.
Venkataraman revealed that the second and final installment was made available after the government of Eswatini has since confirmed completion of 60 percent of the project work.
Minister of Agriculture Jabulani Mabuza expressed appreciation to the government of India for the donation towards the construction of the Lubuyane Irrigation scheme that covers over 45 hectors which is beneficiary to at least 50 homesteads.
“Now that all the funding required for the project is available we are optimistic that we should be able to have all development work completed by October this year and we have the first crop of vegetables by December” said Mabuza.
Mabuza applauded the government of India for being able to extend a helping hand to Eswatini in spite of the prevailing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been plaguing the globe. Mabuza said it is only a true friend who will continue supporting others while having their own challenges at home.