Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Silalatshani irrigation secures a partner

by Staff reporter
03 Jun 2024 at 03:10hrs | Views
Production at the Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme in Insiza, Matabeleland South province, is set to resume after farmers secured a partner to support their agricultural activities.

The unnamed partner has provided the farmers with wheat seeds to cover 100 hectares of land.

The irrigation scheme was reportedly shut down in December last year due to an escalating water bill from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa). Towards the end of last year, the small plot holder farmers faced a severe setback when Zinwa disconnected water supplies to the irrigation scheme over an estimated US$255,000 debt. However, Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga denied the farmers' claims.

Plot holders, who preferred to remain anonymous, revealed that the scheme had been closed since last year and was reopened only two weeks ago thanks to a good Samaritan who provided wheat seeds to partner with the farmers.

"One individual brought wheat seeds and intends to plant them, giving the inputs to a few plot holders to grow wheat on 100 hectares. They will share the harvest with that individual," said one farmer. "The irrigation wasn't fully reopened; water supplies were restored specifically for that individual. He provides the wheat seeds, and the plot holders plant them. They will share the harvest based on a percentage agreement. This individual seems well-connected."

Another farmer claimed, "The irrigation was shut down after ZANU-PF politicians campaigned for people not to pay for water, leading to the debt accumulation, disconnections, and subsequent closure."

Matabeleland South acting provincial Agritex officer Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu confirmed that some farmers had resumed agricultural activities, though he was yet to investigate the details. "Those people are farming now. I am away in Ntabazinduna for another launch, but I know they are farming," Ndlovu said.

The Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme comprises 853 farmers, each holding a maximum of two hectares, producing crops such as maize, beans, vegetables, and wheat.

This development comes as the government announced last year that it was collaborating with development partners to revitalize irrigation schemes in Matabeleland South. The initiative is part of the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme, with schemes like Sebasa, Guyu, and Tshikwalakwala revitalized in 2022, and Makwe, Valley, and Silalatshani revitalized last year.

Source - southeren eye