From George Maponga recently in CHIREDZI
Local and international investors must seize opportunities presented by the new Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo to irrigate vast tracts of land and transform the province into an agricultural hub, says President Mnangagwa.
Tugwi-Mukosi could accrue economic spin-offs for Masvingo Province’s economy and the entire national economy.
Speaking during the commissioning of the $600 million Kilimanjaro Sugar Cane Project at Hippo Valley Estates on Saturday, President Mnangagwa urged Lowveld sugar producer, Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe, to pin its expansion thrust on the giant reservoir, which is the country’s largest inland water body.
“The dam has capacity to provide water to irrigate a further 25 000 hectares of various crops including sugar cane, citrus fruits, vegetables and cash crops, among others.’’
A 15 megawatt hydro power plant is planned at a cost of US$20 million.
President Mnangagwa assured investors that Government will continue to build dams to support the country’s irrigation.
Masvingo has the highest dam density in the country and President Mnangagwa said the water must be exploited to transform the entire Lowveld.
Turning to expansion of the sugar industry to create more jobs and earn the country foreign currency through sugar and ethanol exports, President Mnangagwa called for collaboration between the Lowveld sugar industry and the recently commissioned Innovation Hub at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
President Mnangagwa commissioned the first phase of NUST’s Innovation Hub in Bulawayo last Friday.
“I would like to encourage the Zimbabwe Sugar Association and the Experiment Station here in the Lowveld to leverage on the presence of this facility and create partnerships with NUST to enrich research, development and innovation within the sugar industry,’’ said President Mnangagwa.
In his address, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira said the Lowveld was Masvingo’s trump card in the drive to grow the province’s Gross Domestic Product in line with Vision 2030.
The minister also revealed future plans to build the Runde-Tende Dam by Government which he said would further cement the Lowveld’s status as Masvingo’s economic hub, while helping Zimbabwe to become a net food exporter.
Tugwi-Mukosi Dam was commissioned in May 2017 and with a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres of water.