Walter Nyamukondiwa : Chinhoyi Bureau
Communities in the arid areas close to Kariba Dam have called for the setting up of irrigation systems so that they can contribute to food security through command agriculture. Villagers said they have to play a part in ensuring food security in the country. Government has initiated command agriculture which is underpinned by maximum utilisation of water bodies for irrigation purposes.This is aimed at mitigating the effects of unpredictable weather patterns which have contributed to poor harvests and subsequent hunger.
Villagers in areas such as Mola, Negande, Nebiri, Siakobvu, extending to Kariba urban endure perennial food shortages owing to harsh weather conditions.
They have to rely on food assistance from Government and non governmental organisations (NGOs).
Villagers said there was potential for the establishment of a greenbelt owing to abundant water available in Kariba Dam which can be harnessed to sustain thriving irrigation projects.
Mr Pharaoh Kuyerukani said villagers face hunger every year and irrigation projects should be set up in the area which is always dry.
“We always have dry weather patterns which are not favourable for the growing of crops such as maize and it is our plea to Government to set up irrigation projects particularly in Mola,” he said.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Cde Faber Chidarikire said there was no reason why people in Mola, Siakobvu, Negande, Msampakaruma and Nebiri should starve and look up to Government and NGOs for food assistance.
“We have water that is not being fully utilised and we believe that food production in the area should be increased so that people do not starve,” he said.
“People in the area are blessed to have such a huge water body which we must, however, ensure is used to fight hunger amongst our people.”
Kariba district administrator Mr Amigo Mhlanga said a plan to put 5 000 hectares under irrigation was approved about 15 years ago, but the project has not taken off.
“A plan to put 5 000ha under irrigation in the Mola area of Kariba was approved about 15 years ago, but nothing has yet materialised.
“We hope the project will one day take off,” he said.
The project was earmarked for an area about 18km from the dam meaning irrigation infrastructure to cover the distance has to be sourced.
Strong fences have to be sourced as the area falls in a wildlife area where the project is threatened by wild animals.