George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Government has been urged to speedily craft the Tugwi-Mukosi irrigation master plan to enable communities in Masvingo to start benefiting from idle water in Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body.
The call comes as concerns continue to grow across the province over delays in harnessing the dam’s water for agricultural purposes three years after its commissioning.
This has been attributed to delays in crafting both the dam’s and the irrigation master plans. Tugwi-Mukosi was commissioned in May 2016, but the water is still to benefit adjacent communities in terms of irrigation.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Cde Ezra Chadzamira said it was better for Government to separately craft the irrigation master plan and work on the main master plan later.
“The general feeling across the province right now is that of concern over delays to develop the Tugwi-Mukosi master plan and now the appeal is for Government to first separately work on the agriculture (irrigation) master plan so that our people benefit from the water by producing their own food,” said Cde Chadzamira.
“It is worrying that our people are grappling with food shortages caused by droughts, yet we have abundant idle water in Tugwi-Mukosi.
The call now is for Government to speed up the irrigation master plan and work on the rest of the plan later.”
Minister Chadzamira said Tugwi-Mukosi would turn Masvingo into a breadbasket and make thousands of people in rural communities actively participate in the province’s economy.
So far, the dam has only benefited communities through fishing after Government licensed more than 15 cooperatives comprising mainly women and youths.
It is in the area of irrigation where Tugwi-Mukosi is expected to come handy, with its potential to water more than 25 000 hectares.
This would transform southern parts of Masvingo into an expansive greenbelt.
Consultants have identified more than 60 000 hectares downstream of Tugwi-Mukosi out of which the 25 000ha that are irrigable will be demarcated.