Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
Government is set to put at least 2 000 hectares of land under irrigation in Chivi and Masvingo districts this year, Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira has said.
The development comes as the District Development Fund (DDF) said it was targeting rehabilitating 62 dams across Zimbabwe, with at least 200 hectares of land being put under irrigation in each of the country’s 59 districts.
According to Deputy Minister Marapira, Masvingo Province was still waiting for the finalisation of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam development master plan, with Government working on irrigation schemes in Masvingo Rural and Chivi districts using water from the multi-million reservoir. The 1,8 billion cubic metre Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is about 70 percent full, but has the capacity of irrigating up to 30 000 hectares.
“While Government is finalising the feasibility study on Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, plans are underway to put 2 000 hectares of land under irrigation in Chivi and Masvingo districts,” said Deputy Minister Marapira. He said the water would be drawn from the upper wall of the dam, using floating pumps for irrigation.
“Given that the rains are not falling as expected, irrigation remains the only option and we are using the existing schemes and establishing new ones where necessary,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
“Upon completion of the feasibility study, we are looking forward for the dam, when it is full, to irrigate up to 30 000 hectares of land.”
Masvingo Province is also set to benefit from a $3,4 million Swiss Agency for Development loan facility under the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which will cater for the rehabilitation of 14 irrigation facilities in the province. The project would include smallholder irrigation schemes.
In the National Budget statement last year, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa committed $51,2 million to irrigation development in the country and 2 000 hectares per district over the next five years.