The Department of Irrigation Services, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is carrying out feasibility studies on major dams in the Midlands Province to determine their irrigation potential in a move that could see 10 800 hectares of irrigated area being opened.
The dams are Mundimataga (Mberengwa), Palawani (Zvishavane), Sebakwe (Kwekwe), Manyuchi (Mberegwa), Mbembeswana (between Gweru and Kwekwe), Munyati (at the border of Mvuma and Kwekwe) and Shashe (Mvuma).
Speaking during a meeting attended by the Minister of State in Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s office Evelyn Ndlovu in Gweru recently, Midlands provincial irrigation engineer Shingirai Zano said the province had a lot of potential in underutilised dams to increase irrigation hectarage.
“In our plan we have a feasibility study for the development of 680ha irrigation under Mundimataga, which is being done by IFAD and also Palawani in Zvishavane we are going to do 180ha, 6 400ha for Sebakwe in Kwekwe and 600ha for Manyuchi to be done by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ),” he said.
Eng Zano said 300ha were being targeted for Mbembeswana dam, 900ha for A1 and A2 farmers for Munyati dam and 200ha for Shashe dam.
”These developed large dams and other small dams give an irrigation potential close to 10 800ha,” he said. “We have proposed dams and weirs which could add another 32 100ha, that is, after developing Kudu Munyati 15 000ha, there is 9 500ha for Ungwe, Sengwa 7 000ha and Nyautonge 500ha.”
Eng Zano said under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), the province had successfully rehabilitated 84ha from 840ha targeted for this year.
He said through the IFAD Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme, the province targeted to revitalise 1 525ha by 2023.
“We have successfully completed 60ha at Gutsaruzhinji irrigation project in Shurugwi District and will complete pumping units installation at Igogo in Kwekwe District, which is 84ha,” said Eng Zano.
Midlands province has an estimated total irrigation area of 17 000ha, with a total area equipped for smallholder irrigation of 1 799.4ha and 364ha still under development.