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Insiza joint venture farmers table proposal to build dam

by Staff reporter
22 Jan 2024 at 04:48hrs | Views
INSPIRED by the desire to enhance water harvesting and boost climate-proofed food production, seven farmers from Insiza District in Matebeleland South have availed a combined 700 hectares of land for cultivating different crops under irrigation and are now seeking approval from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to construct a dam.

The joint venture initiative is meant to ensure the farmers grow crops throughout the year thereby boosting production to improve the province's food security.

The project is in response to calls by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development for land owners to partner with those with the financial muscle to boost production.

Government has said such partnerships guarantee high productivity which then enhances the country's food security.

The thrust of the joint venture framework is to match the Government's empowerment drive by linking landowners who have no access to finance with working capital to, not only boost production but also crerate employment.

The country is increasingly adapting to the reality of climate change hence water harvesting projects to boost irrigation farming have come under spotlight especially in the drought-prone southern region.

Through such interventions, Zimbabwe is pushing towards becoming food self-sufficient and being a net exporter of agricultural produce such as wheat, tobacco and other such produce.

Mr Gibson Siziba, a land permit holder in Insiza District said before their joint venture initiative, farmers had challenges with resources, which hindered them from fully utilising the land.

He said this prompted them to enter into a joint venture with Mr James Ross Goddard, a prominent businessman interested in mining, farming and construction.

"We have a joint venture with Mr James Goddard on 700ha piece of land. We have 60ha under maize, 60ha of soya beans and in February we want to put 60ha under sugar beans," said Mr Siziba.

He said plans were underway to construct a dam to augment water supplies from Insiza Dam, which is now silted.

"Insiza Dam can no longer sustain 700ha of land under irrigation," said Mr Siziba.

The planned Manzamnyama Dam initiative has already been presented to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for approval.

Statistics from the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry indicate that the construction of the high-impact dams budgeted at US$1,1 billion across the country is progressing well with the flagship dam Lake Gwayi-Shangani in Matebeleland North province now 73 percent complete while Kunzvi Dam is around 48 percent.

The Second Republic is on a drive to rehabilitate dams and construct new ones as part of efforts to avoid relying on rain-fed agriculture.

This is meant to achieve an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 in line with the National Development Strategy 1 economic blueprint. During a recent tour of the Bulembe Irrigation Cluster by Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka, Mr Goddard said the construction of Manzamnyama Dam will see them increasing production, which will result in all the land under the joint venture being fully utilised.

President Mnangagwa is on the record saying that the Land Reform Programme is irreversible and this has been supported by farmers who are fully utilising the land.

The country has already surpassed its agriculture target of US$8 billion prompting the target to be reviewed to US$13,75 by 2025.

Source - The Chronicle