Govt targets 350 000 ha under irrigation by 2025


Harare (New Ziana) -The government is targeting to put a record 350 000 hectares under irrigation within the next two years as it moves to mitigate against the adverse effects of climate change.

This is being done under the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan through which the government is implementing various and effective strategic interventions.

Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Vangelis Haritatos said this while addressing participants at a business breakfast meeting on climate smart agriculture in the capital on Thursday.

The breakfast meeting was held on the sidelines of the ongoing two-day conference on green waste management and renewable energy for sustainable farming.

In 2021, total area equipped for irrigation in the country was 175 000 hectares.

Haritatos said some of the strategic interventions include creating a greenbelt in the lowveld covering Masvingo, Bulawayo kraal and Kanyemba where 100 000 ha of irrigable land will be developed.

The government also envisages scaling up irrigation development utilising various dams with the aim irrigating 30 000 ha from existing dams as well as rehabilitating irrigation schemes on A1 and A2 farms.

Other interventions include the Presidential Rural Irrigation Vision 2030, localisation of research development and facilitating access to finance.

“In addition to that, Government has dubbed a programme Climate Proofed Presidential Input Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) which has overwhelming evidence of success in climate proofing the sector compared to the conventional way of farming,” said Haritatos.

During the 2020/21 season, Pfumvudza smallholder farmers had an average yield of 5.28 metric tons per hectare against an average national small-scale farmer yield of 1.16 metric tons per hectare.

The difference was also noticed for the 2021/22 season where farmers under Pfumvudza averaged 2.4 metric tons per hectare against a national average of 1.17 metric tons per hectare.

“Colleagues, the dividends for climate smart agriculture are so glaring. However, as we noted during the 2021/22 season, climate change reduced the yield levels of Pfumvudza farmers by about 74 percent from 5.28 metric tons per hectare to 1.39 metric tons per hectare,” Haritatos said, adding that this alone calls for concerted efforts to de-risk the agriculture space at any cost to ensure food and nutrition security for the people.

In an effort to promote responsible investments into the agriculture sector, Haritatos said his Ministry is currently developing the Zimbabwe Agriculture Investment Plan (ZAIP) 2.

The plan is taking into cognisance agro-ecology and bio-diversity to promote climate smart agriculture across all the value chains with the aim of reducing, re-using and recycling resources whilst maximising value.

Haritatos said the government, in partnership with the private sector and development partners, is implementing various investments in the agriculture space under different models which include Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), Built Operate and Transfer (BOP), Built Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT), contract arrangements, joint ventures among others.

“The new thrust under the guidance of the Second Republic is to ensure agriculture transformation- that is private-sector-led and public-sector-facilitated,” Haritatos explained.

“This is why the Ministry is working round the clock to promote the participation of the private sector in all aspects of agricultural transformation,” he said, adding the growth in the production of strategic value-chains is courtesy of the support and massive participation of the private sector in climate smart agriculture.

New Ziana

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