Lower Gweru villagers benefit from wetlands

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Lower Gweru (New Ziana) -Villagers from Madigani and Dufuya under Chief Sogwala in Lower Gweru, the Midlands province have turned wetlands in their areas into sources of livelihoods.

As the world commemorated World Wetlands Day this week, the 74 villagers at Madigani and 140 at Dufuya provided a perfect example of how wetlands can be used to sustain livelihoods.

The villagers, who have committees that oversee the utilisation of the wetlands, said they have been able to survive with the money they get from the different farming activities that they undertake.

Madigani wetlands chairperson Tafirenyika Moyo said they were benefiting a lot from the availability of water as they grow crops throughout the year.

“We grow maize, tomatoes, onions and green vegetables all year round,” he said.

“We have been able to sustain our lives through the farming activities we do here.”

Dufuya deputy chairperson Tendeukai Sibanda said they have been more organised as villagers and farmers since the wetland was fenced by Non-Governmental Organisation Heifer International.

“When they fenced the source, water increased which also resulted in us pegging more gardens for new farmers which resulted in an increase of farmers from 97 to over 200 now. We have 150 men and 90 women working in the wetland. We received a lot of training and we are working well,” she said.

Sibanda said they grow maize, cabbages, tomatoes, onions and other crops which help in both their nutrition and incomes.

“We have built a dip tank for our cattle and we hope to have a partner who will help us so that the water becomes suitable for human consumption,” she added.

She urged communities that have wetlands in their areas to make the best use out of them.

“I want to urge people who are privileged to have wetlands in their areas to conserve them as they are a source of livelihood if properly managed,” she said.

Vungu Rural District Council Ward 2 councilor Elias Mbiva said the wetlands at Madigani and Dufuya had enabled villagers to send their children to schools as well as build houses.

Through the assistance of the Environmental Management Agency and Agritex, the villagers have been able to conserve as well as utilise the land.

This year’s World Wetlands Day was commemorated on February 2 under the theme “Water and Wetlands – Inseparable for life”.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Mangaliso Ndhlovu gave a virtual speech on the day.

The commemorations, which are meant to raise awareness on best practices, were held at a time when some people who built on wetlands in Zimbabwe are having a torrid time as their houses are getting flooded.
New Ziana

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