KATIMA MULILO – The agriculture ministry is seeking consultants for a topographical land survey, design and the supervision of construction activities for the Kalimbeza rice project in the Zambezi region.
These activities include the building of an embankment, drainage system, field levelling as well as the laying of an irrigation system.
This comes after the ministry a week ago revealed that the government has allocated an amount of N$8 million towards the rice project - which has been on the brink of collapse - to revive its operations.
The rice project was envisaged to become the major producer and contribute towards food security in Namibia, but has over the years yielded little to poor rice plantations.
Deputy Director for Agricultural Engineering Felix Ndinamwene admitted that the ministry is aware of the challenges faced by the project.
Hence, he revealed that the work will be carried out in various phases.
Ndinamwene said phase one will seek the services of engineering consultants to carry out a detailed assessment including topographical land surveying, hydrology analysis, design, tender documentation and contract supervision.
“Phase two will be the construction phases and implementation stage of what the engineering consultants carry out as recommended on the flood management and drainage procedures, amongst others,” he noted.
The ministry informed interested parties that eligibility criteria, establishment of the shortlist and the selection procedure are available on the Government EProcurement portal https://egp2.gov.na Procurement Reference No: CS/RFP/37-20/2023.
Interested consultants may obtain further information during office hours from 08h00 to 17h00 on weekdays.
Furthermore, the ministry advised that expressions of interest be delivered by 19 December 2023 at 10h00.
The topographical land survey, Ndinamwene indicated, will be done because the government realised that it was not sustainable to continue pumping money into planting rice at Kalimbeza in its current state, as this will be wasting state resources.
He assured that phase one will be completed this financial year, and the next phase the following financial year.
Year in and year out, the government had through the ministry of agriculture continued to bail out the rice project with millions of dollars, while it has been going downhill.
This resulted in the farm not having planted rice for over the last two years due to factors such as disconnected electricity, non-payment of employees’ salaries, a lack of fuel, uneven fields and wrecked equipment.