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Zimbabwe govt targets 350 000 ha of irrigable land in next 3 years

by Staff reporter
16 Apr 2021 at 07:49hrs | Views
Government has made plans to activate and operationalise 350 000 hectares of irrigable land in the next three years.

Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka revealed this in Parliament while responding to questions on the government's masterplan on the utilisation of dams to ensure that they benefit the country with special reference to Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo province.

Masuka said government intended to utilise the 10 000 dams throughout the country.

Masvingo, Masuka said, had irrigable potential of 106 000 hectares, based on the dams in the province.

"Currently, only about 46 000 hectares is irrigated. Tugwi-Mukosi is capable of commanding 40 000 hectares and the masterplan is at a very advanced stage. "

"So my expectation is that in the next two to three months, we will begin to see works commence on Buffalo ranch - 800 hectares, Banga irrigation scheme - 8 000 hectares and Chilonga 1, 2 and 3 - 13 000 hectares. So activities will begin to pick up."

Masuka said government had incorporated 200 hectares per district in the accelerated irrigation, revitalisation, rehabilitation and development plan dubbed vision 30 accelerator and because of that, expects treasury to allocate more resources to enable implementation of the plan.

"A total of 350 000 hectares to climate-proof our agriculture into the future so that we can produce sufficiently to meet our annual national needs.

"We have included this in the accelerated irrigation rehabilitation plan and just last week, the first 21 000 hectares have been identified and submitted to treasury for funding," Masuka said.

"My expectation, therefore, is that we will be able to see an acceleration of the rehabilitation of the farm infrastructure to enable the irrigation to commence," Masuka said.

"There is an inter-ministerial committee that is looking at 12 projects from fishing, boating, higher and tertiary education, tourism, small and medium enterprises and agriculture.

"So, that is about 95% complete, but the purpose of establishing the Tugwi-Mukosi was bigger than that.

"It was for irrigation and the irrigation takes place 80km away downstream of Tugwi-Mukosi where we have identified 40 000 hectares in Mwenezi district. the rest of the hectarage is in Chiredzi district.

"We envisage, however, that within Mwenezi, there will be a standard development and some defined hectarage being made available for prospective investors for which we invite Zimbabwean companies to participate," Masuka said.

"We also anticipate that in that process, the activities around Tugwi-Mukosi will then also be available for interested Zimbabweans to invest.

"So it is something that we are working on and we are nearing completion and there will a public statement in that regard," he said.

Source - newsday