Sugarcane farmers want more dams

Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Sugarcane farmers in Chiredzi have called on the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to construct four more dams as outlined in the grand sugarcane development plan in response to irrigation water challenges.

Addressing hundreds of sugarcane farmers at their annual general meeting held in Mkwasine last week, chairman of the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association, Mr Edmore Veterai, said the country must design mechanisms to harness water.

He said with the current expansion of sugarcane plantations in the Lowveld, it was noble for Zinwa to continue investing in water infrastructure.

“We are proud that the sugar industry is growing rapidly judging from more plantations being opened across all our sugarcane growing areas.

“It is in this regard that we have witnessed pressure on existing water bodies that at this time farmers especially in Mkwasine are subjected to water rationing.

“Like any other industry, we have our own grand sugarcane development plan, which aims at improving productivity and profitability. It is in this regard that we call upon ZINWA to continue their investment in the development of water infrastructure. We can solve the water shortages by making sure that all the water is harnessed rather than watching it flow to the Indian Ocean freely,” said Mr Veterai.

He said the construction of four additional dams; Mkwasine, Mujiche, Mukazi and Muhechedzi would mark the end of existing water shortages.

Addressing the same meeting, Zinwa official Ms Charity Muchehiwa, said the dam levels as of Thursday last week were not that pleasing hence sugarcane farmers were supposed to preserve water if they wanted to have a successful farming season.

“As you know, we are renewing our water agreement with you farmers. It is, however, noble for us to share with you dam water levels for all supply dams in Masvingo Province as of Thursday March 3, 2016.

“Kyle Dam is 19.8 percent full, Bangala is at 10,8 percent, Nyajena 89,9 percent, Tokwane is 100,2 percent full and is spilling over. Manjirenji is at 28,6 percent, Muzwi 1,2 percent, Siya Dam 54,1 percent and Manyuchi is at 59,8 percent.”

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