The Irrigation Development Alliance (IDA) is set to develop 100 000 hectares of irrigation land as it embraces the Government’s plan to increase land under irrigation to 350 000ha by 2025.
The Government wants to ensure more land is under irrigation so as to fight the effects of climate change.
Department of Irrigation Development director Engineer Bezzel Chitsungo recently said so far, eight private companies have offered to partner the Government under the backing of the IDA by financing programmes that have a cumulative capacity to develop at least 100 000ha.
The Alliance, through the establishment of a vigorous framework that seeks to promote investment in irrigation expansion by supporting partnerships between financial institutions, irrigation companies and farmers, has been able to enhance viability and programme effectiveness.
“IDA is a platform for the mobilisation of resources from various private stakeholders, thereby crowding in private sector participation in irrigation development with the ultimate goal of accelerating transformation of the agriculture sector,” said Eng Chitsungo.
Zimbabwe is endowed with water resources that have an estimated potential to irrigate over two million hectares.
In that regard, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is moving to accommodate the private sector so that maximum value can be extracted from the water bodies.
Eng Chitsungo added that Zimbabwe has about 220 000ha equipped with irrigation infrastructure, out of which about 185 000ha.
He said full-time crops such as sugarcane, citrus and tea, among others grown by commercial estates, sit on 100 000ha of the functional irrigated land, amplifying the need for more irrigable land.
Increased irrigable land is crucial in championing the attainment of Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper middle-income economy.
Irrigation farming helps farmers in diversifying their farming operations thereby allowing them to crop all year round, rather than engaging in seasonal production.
The Government has a running on-lending agreement with CBZ Agro-Yield and Maka Commercial Irrigation company that are positioned to roll out a programme targeting 80 000ha for A2 farmers.
The IDA is part of the Government’s effort to create an enabling environment conducive for accelerated growth; that is building resilience to vulnerabilities and shocks that come as a result of climate change.