BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
GOVERNMENT has approved construction of a dam outside Marondera, which is earmarked for horticultural purposes.
The dam will be situated between the Churchhill and Sambok area and is expected to boost irrigation and increase fresh produce exports to European markets and the Middle East.
It is estimated that a total of 250 young farmers would benefit from the horticultural project as outgrowers.
Sambok Dam will be constructed by a renowned company JR Goddard at a cost of US$1,2 million.
Construction of the water body should have commenced three months ago, but was delayed after some war veterans and farmers refused to co-operate, resulting in the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) refusing to release an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate to okay the project.
Nhimbe Fresh Exports executive chairperson Edwin Moyo, who runs Churchill Farm, yesterday told NewsDay that construction of the dam had commenced. He confirmed that EMA had since issued the EIA certificate.
“We are very excited about the development. The dam will augment our water supply at Churchill Farm and supply water downstream to our outgrowers for our United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other export markets.
“In addition, it will also be used for growing import substitution crops such as winter wheat beginning next year. Completion (of the dam) is expected to be at the end of this year. This dam and our solar project are the beginning of bigger things to come for Nhimbe and its outgrower community,” he said.
A team of agronomists from the UAE recently visited the two farms to assess the project that is set to improve the horticultural crops for export.
Nhimbe is targeting to export 3 000 tonnes of garlic, 1 500 tonnes of ginger, 5 000 tonnes of sponta potato and 5 000 tonnes of red onion, among other fresh produce.