Runesu Gwidi Herald Correspondent
Government has invited applications from farmers interested in irrigation farming using water from the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in southern Masvingo that has potential to irrigate more than 25 000 hectares.
The development comes as plans to exploit water in Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body have gathered momentum with the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe currently identifying land for the project.
IDBZ will also identify investors to develop the irrigable land once the identification exercise is complete. The bank’s findings will be included in the dam’s master plan that is being drafted.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Josaya Hungwe last week urged prospective out-growers at Tugwi-Mukosi to apply to the Masvingo Development Trust to be registered to venture into irrigation.
“As a province our focus at the moment is on how best we can start exploiting Tugwi-Mukosi water for the benefit of our people and accordingly we want to urge our people interested in becoming out-growers at Tugwi-Mukosi to start registering so that they venture into irrigation,” he said.
He said the planned irrigation projects at Tugwi-Mukosi would transform the province economically and socially.
He said the prospective out-growers should state in their application the type of crop they intend to grow under irrigation.
“It is our expectation that the irrigation projects at Tugwi-Mukosi will transform the lives of many people in rural communities around the dam.
“We are happy that zanu-pf had a thunderous victory in the just-ended harmonised elections, which enables the ruling party to continue with its agenda to develop the country towards a middle income nation by 2030 as enunciated by President Mnangagwa.”
Senator Hungwe said Masvingo province was firmly focused on development despite the current political challenges arising from the July 30 polls won by President Mnangagwa and zanu-pf .
“We are not perturbed by political tussles which have emanated from the outcome of the just-ended harmonised election. The current legal battles by political parties should not sway our minds from focusing on development initiatives,” said Senator Hungwe.
Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, which is situated about 72km south of Masvingo city is Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam with a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres.
The dam, built for $300 million is touted as a permanent panacea to recurrent food woes in Masvingo, a province known for endless droughts.
Besides irrigation development to grow cash crops, Tugwi-Mukosi has potential to generate electricity and a wildlife sanctuary is earmarked for the dam’s buffer zone adding a tourism spectacle to the water body.