Communities in Lesanth area in Beitbridge East’s ward 13 are resuscitating a fish farming project in the area, which they previously used to raise money for the development of essential infrastructure.
A few years ago, the villagers, who lived 80km north of the border town, used proceeds from the venture to construct a classroom block at Lesanth Primary School.
However, progress slowed down when the local dam dried up following successive droughts.
According to the Lesanth Campfire chairperson, Mr Brighton Siziba, the project started taking shape again when the legislator for the area donated thousands of fingerlings in May 2020.
He said they have started harvesting the fish and proceeds will go towards the construction of another classroom block at the local school.
“We are very grateful that we have had good rains and we have started harvesting the fish from Lesanth dam,” said Mr Siziba.
“As a community, we have agreed that all the proceeds from this project will be used to build another classroom block, just like what we did a few years back.”
He said they were already working on a programme to manage the harvesting of the fish by the committee and those wishing to do fishing for recreation.
Mr Siziba said they had put security around the dam to guard against poaching.
He said when the dam (Lesanth) is full to capacity it can store water for three years and that they expected to have done a lot of infrastructure development projects within that period.
“This is commitment everyone of us has made here. We want to use natural resources around us to fill in gaps in terms of infrastructure development,” said Mr Siziba.
“When we finish with the primary school, our next focus will be on building clinic to service Ward 13. Currently, some are relying on Makombe or Beitbridge town to get medical attention.”
He said they had also tightened security on the extraction of sand, gravel and other soils for construction purposes, and on the harvesting of mopani worms (amacimbi/madora) and firewood.
Ward 13 councillor, Sibongile Chauke said although villagers have done well in managing natural resources in the area, they need more assistance in market links and capacity building
“Teamwork and commitment have helped the community to achieve set target and it is our hope that should we get more capacity building programmes and more market linkages for our natural resources, we can improve on issues of self-sustenance,” said Clr Chauke.
She said they had a number of outstanding infrastructure development projects in the area including the construction of a clinic, roads rehabilitation, and irrigation development.
Beitbridge East legislator, Cde Albert Nguluvhe said he was also mobilising resources to revive irrigation-based farming in Lesanth area.
He said the area had great potential for citrus and horticulture produce.