Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government has introduced six command initiatives and programmes aimed at promoting rigorous environmental practices and sustainable natural resource management in the country.
The command programmes are Veld Fire, Water Harvesting, Fisheries,Wildlife, Agro-Forestry and Land Degradation. The programmes come after President Mnangagwa directed all Government organs to implement 100-day quick win initiatives to resuscitate the country’s economy, create employment and improve service delivery, which will translate into improved livelihoods.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday met with ministers of State to brief them on the various initiatives since they oversee the implementation of Government programmes in their areas of jurisdiction.
“Water is one of the key enablers of sustainable social growth in Zimbabwe. As such my ministry is implementing water harvesting projects around the country to alleviate water shortages in all areas as well as address the effects of climate change,” she said.
“The water harvesting project will see the construction of new weirs, rehabilitation of existing ones, drilling of boreholes, de-siltation of water bodies as well as roof-top water harvesting.”
She said a lot of water infrastructure was damaged by excessive amounts of rainfall received during the last season, resulting in breaching of many dams around the country, releasing impounded water for irrigation, domestic use and livestock.
She said it was crucial to embark on a countrywide weir construction and rehabilitation exercise. The ministry, she said, would also carry out de-siltation of water bodies to increase storage capacity, requesting legislators to submit a list of potential areas and sites where weirs and boreholes are suitable.
“Command Fisheries is a national programme meant to ensure food security and the improvement of livelihoods and the national economy. There is a growing demand for the exploitation of fisheries as evidenced by overwhelming applications for fish permits and licenses,” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“If all dams can be fully utilised, the country has a potential to increase fish production to almost 1,5 million tonnes per year. The Command Fisheries programme is being implemented in three components, which are the cage culture, artisanal fisheries and aquaculture.”
On the Command Agro-Forestry, she said, the ministry was in the process of planting seedlings of various fruit trees such as avocados, lemons and mangoes among others for the Chinese market.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said Government was also encouraging individuals to embark on bee-keeping projects, which have economic benefits as well as a way to conserve trees and biodiversity. In an effort to reduce the scourge of veld fires, she said, her ministry had created another programme on hay bailing and grass combing.
“Pollution and solid waste management remain a challenge in the country, particularly in urban centres, growth points, rural service centres and along major highways.
“I am therefore calling upon you, honourable ministers, to take a leading role in the management of waste in your provinces,” she said. She said local authorities should ensure collection of solid waste, provision of adequate bins, construction of properly engineered landfills, prosecution of litter bugs and setting up of recycling opportunities for communities.
In attendance were Ministers of State Miriam Chikukwa (Harare), Owen Ncube (Midlands), Josiah Hungwe (Masvingo), Abednico Ncube (Matabeleland South) and Cain Mathema (Matabeleland North).