By Melissa Zvidzahove
Masvingo (Masvingo Star-New Ziana) – The government is targeting the resuscitation and development of irrigation schemes to improve production in the agricultural sector, a senior government official has said.
Addressing farmers and members of the public at the just ended Masvingo Provincial Agricultural Show, the Minister of State for Masvingo Province, Ezra Chadzamira, said agriculture was central to the economy and would play a pivotal role in the realisation of Vision 2030 of Zimbabwe becoming a prosperous upper middle income society.
He said Zimbabwe had to be transformed from a landlocked to a land linked industrial giant of Southern Africa.
There were agricultural projects that had low hanging fruits in Masvingo province and these included the development of 25 000 hectares of irrigation for Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, construction of Muzhi-Mushandike canal to enable the expansion of Mushandike Irrigation Scheme which would see over 3 000 more households benefiting.
The upgrading and modernisation of Chombwe piped water scheme in Chivi North would also support the establishment of irrigation schemes, as will the construction of the Runde-Tende Dam, that is expected to become the biggest inland water reserviour in the country.
Plans are also on the drawing board for the development of Chilonga Irrigation Scheme in Chiredzi South.
“The government is targeting the resuscitation and development of irrigation schemes and under this programme, each district will have at least 200 hectares of land under irrigation,” said Chadzamira.
He said the government was also targeting massive fish farming using dams such as Manyuchi, Lake Mutirikwi, Bangala and Tugwi-Mukosi.
There also would be establishment of sugar and ethanol production plants, revitalization of maize, sugar, citrus and nuts production.
He urged farmers to fully utilize pieces of land allocated to them under the land reform programme by making them productive and warned that the government would not hesitate to withdraw underutilized land.
“We are being challenged as Masvingo province to leverage on our productive potential given the abundant water in dams and land to feed this nation. This challenge presents exciting investment opportunities that are informed by the mantra, Zimbabwe is open for business,” he said.
He said Masvingo province needed to adopt and draw attention to and accelerate real time practical solutions towards the ongoing government thrust to modernise and industrialize the economy.
Meanwhile, Chadzamira said the government was seized with drought which had resulted in a lot of communities in the province facing hunger, saying President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record assuring the country that no one would die starve.
“The President met with the executive director of the World Food Program, Mr David Beasley, where Zimbabwe got an assurance of escalated mobilisation of financial resources to provide food,” said Chadzamira.
The engagement was bearing fruits as government was partnering the WFP in the provision of drought relief through assets such as the construction of community dams like Chebvute for small holder irrigation scheme development.”
Chadzamira said the country’s ‘oneness’ under President Mnangagwa has to inspire people to care for the vulnerable members of the society.
“I urge those involved in the beneficiary selection process and allocation of food aid to ensure that all those who deserve it get it in line with government’s drought and relief mitigation strategy,” said Chadzamira.
He urged farmers to continue producing small grains and said the government is implementing backstop measures to address drought induced livestock deaths and diseases while more strategies are being looked at so that farmers would receive agricultural inputs on time under the command agriculture and Presidential Well-wishers Scheme.
Each household under the Presidential Input Support Scheme is expected to receive 10kgs of seed maize and small grain seed as well as 50kg Compound D ammonium nitrate fertilizers with the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) and AgriBank coming in with financial support this season to bankroll command agriculture in terms of inputs and mechanisation respectively.
Chadzamira said the show’s theme ‘Practical Solutions for Economic Growth’ summed the fullness of the collective desire to put shoulders on the wheel providing requisite efforts toward productivity.
Masvingo Star-New Ziana