Runesu Gwidi in MASVINGO
The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has tabled an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report on the proposed investment and irrigation around Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, as Government intensifies efforts to make sure the country’s largest inland water body is utilised.
The report was tabled by the bank and its consultants during an all stakeholders’ meeting here and follows a visit to the dam by members of the Technical Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Tugwi-Mukosi led by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri last week.
The IDBZ and its partners unpacked a list of bankable projects at the water body that also has the potential to irrigate more than 25 000 hectares.
In his address, IDBZ chief executive Mr Thomas Sakala said the objective of the meeting was to present the first Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report on the dam’s projects to enable stakeholders from the province to deliberate on it.
“Basically, we have decided to meet stakeholders to share details of the preliminary Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report compiled by our consultants,” he said. “It is our intention to contribute to massive economic growth in line with Government’s efforts to fully exploit water from Tugwi-Mukosi Dam.
“Government is focused on two master plans for Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, namely the Investment and the Irrigation Master Plan. The Investment Master Plan will particularly cover projects such as dairy farming, game sanctuaries, fisheries, tourism chalets, boating, provision of sporting facilities, among other business ventures.
“Today, we are discussing the Irrigation Master Plan with the province. IDBZ in January this year submitted the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report for approval by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).”
Mr Sakala said the meeting sought to afford stakeholders an opportunity to make input ion the Irrigation Master Plan.
“Key issues carried in the report (ESIA) include soil tests for the growing of various cash crops on the proposed irrigation projects, the type of irrigation technology which would suit various types of soils, the impact of installing irrigation canals and other infrastructure on already existing homesteads and settlement patterns, among other issues,” he said.
The next stage will be the design of the irrigation network to be used in exploiting Tugwi-Mukosi water.
Mr Sakala said his institution wanted to make the scenic Tugwi-Mukosi Dam and surrounding areas a prime tourism attraction which would become a cash cow for Masvingo.
At Chingwizi more than 3 000 families that were displaced by the dam were set to benefit from Tugwi-Mukosi through irrigation.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Cde Ezra Chadzamira said massive investment was certain for the province which was home to 54 percent of Zimbabwe’s water bodies.
He applauded IDBZ for presenting a progress report on proposed projects around Tugwi-Mukosi.
Government has identified 14 anchor projects for exploitation in and around Tugwi-Mukosi Dam which took more than 17 years to complete at a cost of nearly $300 million.