HARARE – Government, in partnership with a local farm equipment manufacturer, Maka, is targeting to put at least 100 000 hectares of land under irrigation to boost food security, a Cabinet Minister said last week.
Development of irrigation schemes country-wide is part of government’s overall aim to ensure the country’s food security through reducing reliance on rain fed agriculture.
With over 70 percent of Zimbabweans living off agriculture, there have been calls for the government to invest more in irrigation to increase agricultural production.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the special programme on irrigation development had been approved by Cabinet.
“Cabinet considered and approved a proposal for the quick rehabilitation and development of irrigation infrastructure throughout the country. Under this proposal Maka Resources, a local manufacturing company, will partner government in the development of 100 000 hectares for irrigation within the next three years,” she said.
“The facility will cover both new and existing irrigation schemes and will target the development of 20 000 hectares of communal land and 80 000 hectares of A1 and A2 land.”
Mutsvangwa said the implementation of this programme would increase investment in the irrigation sector.
Agricultural experts have also challenged Zimbabwe to exploit its vast irrigation potential to combat the effects of climate change.
Zimbabwe, whose economy heavily depends on agriculture, has over the past few years seen its agricultural production fluctuate due to changing weather patterns as well as other production bottlenecks.
For example, in the 2014/15 farming season, Zimbabwe wrote off about 300 000 hectares out of an estimated two million hectares that were planted after crops wilted due to poor rains. – New Ziana