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Masvingo greenbelt project gathers pace

by Staff reporter
31 Jan 2021 at 06:55hrs | Views
MASVINGO Province is poised to become the breadbasket of the country as the masterplan to set in motion a greenbelt of more than 100 000 hectares of irrigable land gathers pace following abundant water at Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, it has been revealed.

Speaking during a tour of the dam recently, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said the masterplan that would guide dam water use and other activities was almost complete.

He said given Masvingo's geographical location which allows rivers to flow into its dams and fertile soils that the province was blessed with, it was able to produce one million metric tonnes of cereals if the water was harnessed for irrigation.

"Masvingo is geographically situated where all major rivers flow through and also because of that it is in the ecological Region Five, the soils are very good. So that combination of having water and very good soils means Masvingo is poised to become the breadbasket of the country. I think that the greenbelt that we envisage upwards of 100 000 hectares can be harnessed and irrigated in Masvingo and can begin to contribute from one million metric tonnes of cereals which will be more than our grain reserves annually and this is possible."

Meanwhile, following the spilling of the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam Minister Masuka said it was time that the Government accelerate irrigation developments so that the country can benefit from the investment.

The dam is supplying water for sugarcane irrigation in the Lowveld, relieving Mutirikwi Dam, while the Government is still working on the masterplan that will guide the utilisation of the bulk of the water for food security.

As the Government moves to ensuring food security in the country, he said the masterplan for the dam was almost 99 percent complete and in the next weeks they will be able to divulge the details. About 40 000 hectares for irrigation is expected to be utilised as more land is identified and cleared.

"We are excited by this broader and inclusive masterplan as we envisage harnessing 40 000 hectares for a start. We are pleased that the dam is full, we now need to accelerate the irrigation development so that the country can meaningfully benefit from this massive investment," he said.

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira said they were pleased that the dam was full and they will be able to fully utilise the water to contribute to the province's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

"We are looking forward to the masterplan that is being drawn hoping that it will be completed soon so that we can utilise the water. We have more than 40 000 hectares here that is not yet utilised and if those hectares are utilised Masvingo will never be the same again. We will contribute immensely to our provincial GDP and even that of the nation in terms of agriculture. Masvingo will be one of the provinces that will achieve the Vision 2030 before 2030 because of the resources that we have."

The province is also looking forward to the construction of another major dam Runde-Tende which will be at the confluence of Runde and Tende Rivers in the Southern parts of Chivi.

Source - sundaynews