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GOVT TO RESUSCITATE MPHAKATHI IRRIGATION SCHEME

 

Government has assured Songwa residents in Hwange East of its commitment to revive the Mphakathi Irrigation Scheme to help boost production and enhance rural industrialisation.

The development comes after a public appeal by the Songwa community to resuscitate the dam. The Songwa area has been relying on the scheme for market gardening before it collapsed due to obsolete equipment as well as perennial water challenges.

The area has grappled with acute water shortages for years. The problem intensified due to droughts that saw the community facing one of the worst water shortages in history. Climate change has seen falling water levels at the community’s supply dams.

However, the Second Republic has brought a timely sigh of relief to the Hwange East Constituency after hinting that it will resuscitate the scheme. The government intervention will help realise the much-needed returns that propel sustainable economic growth at the same time addressing issues of food security. Food security is a key objective under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). The strategy identifies agriculture as one of the major economic drivers.

President Mnangagwa reaffirmed the Second Republic’s commitment to solving hunger and poverty as well as capacitating subsistence farmers. The Ministry of agriculture and its subsidiaries have since been tasked to ensure improved production and augment rural industrialisation.

In an interview with this reporter, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda)’s Chairman, Mr Ivan Craig, said they had so far deployed 26 business development managers to work with community members in improving operations.
“So, our business model includes deploying business development managers at each irrigation scheme and so far we have deployed 26 managers to improve operations”.

Additionally, a plan for the irrigation scheme, which starts with rehabilitation, efficient water use, whether it can be drip or the use of centre pivots is in the pipeline.

“One of our mandate as Arda is to manage 450 irrigation schemes in the country with a total of 10 500 hectares, excluding the new schemes, and we are looking at surpassing that target,” said Mr Craig.

A resident of Songwa, James Murisa said, “We are very excited about the steps that government has finally taken towards reviving Mphakathi and we believe that this will have a positive impact on our economy,” he said.

“Communities in and around Songwa will benefit the people project since it will alleviate poverty and starvation among rural communities and permanently address the perennial water challenges”.

Ranga Mhlanga said, indeed, true to President Mnangwagwa’s words, Matebeleland North, will not be left behind in the journey towards Vision 2030!

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