Leonard Ncube in Binga
DEPUTY Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Justin Mupamhanga has called for a holistic approach in the implementation of the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme in Binga as the project is a low hanging fruit capable of transforming the district into an economic greenbelt.
Mr Mupamhanga yesterday toured the irrigation scheme which has been failing to meaningfully take off over the years.
Located about 30km away from Binga Centre, the project has been failing to fully take off since 2004 owing to a myriad of challenges among them pipe leakages.
Mr Mupamhanga who was accompanied by Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Dr Gloria Magombo and her Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare counterpart Ms Judith Kateera said the Second Republic wants to transform Binga and other rural communities into sustainable structured towns.
“We are a team of officials that has been instructed to develop relations with this community and our visit here is contextual with that task force responsible for developing communities left behind like Binga, Kanyemba, Bulawayo Kraal and Maranda among others. Our desire is to rejuvenate and galvanise them so that their economies touch lives of ordinary people.
“We have seen that there is water, land and centre pivots that are not being utilised. I call upon each sub sector to do something. There is a lot of work to be done for this irrigation to be functional hence we need a holistic developmental model that touches all aspects of all social life,” said Mr Mupamhanga.
Mr Mupamhanga said people want tangible assurance that something will be done at the irrigation scheme which is viewed as the panacea to food challenges in the drought prone Binga District.
Experimental cropping in the last two years was heavily affected by moisture stress due to limited pumping owing to faulty pipes and electricity challenges.
Mr Mupamhanga said work is underway to lay the pipeline which will draw water from the Zambezi River about 10km away.
A committee headed by Mr Taitos Mukuli which was set up to run the project yesterday told Mr Mupamhanga that there has been no meaningful development since 2004.
Matabeleland North provincial irrigation officer Mr Charles Makhula said the pipeline is being attended to in two phases. He said the project implementers were failing to procure material for a new pipeline.
“Bulawayo Kraal has been on the cards for a long time and the key thing for now is to repair the pipeline which is being done in two phases. The first phase involves repair of the 4km line and the second phase will cover the 9,6km that needs to be procured. The challenge is procurement prices as they keep changing hence we keep going forth and backward,” he said.
Mr Makhula said 400ha have been cleared.
Zesa electrician Emmanuel Sakubende said the pump station on the Zambezi River will be connected next week.