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Govt slashes raw water charges by 31 percent

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Harare (New Ziana) – Government has reduced raw water charges for all categories of farmers by 31 percent as it strives to attract more farmers to increase irrigated hectarage in the 2023/24 summer season, a senior government official said on Monday.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural development, Anxious Masuka said government had also come up with a cocktail of other measures to make raw water affordable, chief among them the suspension of the water levy fund which is currently pegged at US$1.06 per mega litre, a reduction of the sub-catchment council rate from US$1.00 to US$0.50 per mega litre, and a downward review of the water allocation charge to irrigated maize by 25 percent, from US$14.35 to US10.76.

“The impact of these interventions is to reduce the cost of raw water, irrigation water for farmers by 31 percent,” he said.

“Secondly, as relief to farmers, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) will be sending out the modalities for a post-paid water arrangement and the stop-order facility payable at Grain Marketing Board (GMB) or any other contractor and charged at an indicative USD rate, but payable in Zimbabwe dollars at the day of paying in order to preserve value,” he said.

He said government’s intention is to see more land under irrigation, adding that they hoped that these interim measures will support the production of more grain during the 2023/24 cropping season.

Masuka also said that government had extended the deadline for preparation of plots under Pfumvudza/Intwasa from October 31 to November 15 to allow farmers to take advantage of the early showers being experienced in the country to be able to expedite the preparation of these plots so that no one and no place is left behind.

As of Sunday, he said over 3.8 million plots had been prepared by farmers under the programme.

He said at national level, government is accelerating irrigation rehabilitation and development, constructing more dams and ensuring that the new concept is actualised, that the dam is not the project, but it is what the water is intended to do that constitutes the project.

Masuka said any dam project now had five dimensions to it, namely impounding water, provision of drinking water, fisheries, irrigation and power development.

Government, he said, was considering a sixth component to dam projects – waste water management, especially in urban areas.

Masuka said this had become necessary in view of heavy pollution of water sources in towns and cities, which has resulted in high water procesiong costs.

“So we think now, as we do these projects we need to include a waste water management component and you will be seeing that the hubs for Bulawayo and Harare will have the six complenentary projects,” he said.

He said with the projected normal to below normal rainfall this season, the cost of producing irrigated crops will be higher this year, resulting in higher prices for commodities next year.

New Ziana

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