Govt plans to put 443 000ha under irrigation 

Source: Govt plans to put 443 000ha under irrigation | The Herald October 24, 2018

Govt plans to put 443 000ha under irrigation

Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Government has equipped 206 000 hectares with irrigation facilities across the country as it moves to avert hunger and ensure national food security at household level.

Speaking during a stakeholder’s conference at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) acting chief executive Engineer Taurayi Maurukira said the country had the potential of irrigating an additional 237 550ha.

President Mnangagwa is on record as saying the country needs at least 400 000ha under irrigation to be food secure with or without adequate rain.

Eng Maurukira said Government is developing a National Water and Irrigation Master Plan to guide the development of water resources and irrigation development.

According to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate   and Rural Resettlement, the country has a total irrigation potential area of 5 million hectares that can be developed. The current total area equipped with irrigation facilities is 206 000ha across the country.

“An additional total of 237 550ha can be irrigated. That is Manicaland has a potential to irrigate 34 700ha, Midlands 7 400ha, Masvingo 80 000ha, Matabeleland North 9 000ha, Matabeleland South 7 800ha, Mashonaland West 52 000ha, Mashonaland East 21 000ha and Mashonaland Central 25 650ha,” he said.

Eng Maurukira said the country’s dams were at 22 percent capacity which is about 10,5 billion cubic metres.

“The country has a potential to store 47,3 billon cubic metres but currently only 22 percent (10,5 billion cubic metres) of this is being stored in the existing dams. About 17 percent of the storage is in Tugwi-Mukosi. About 30 percent of the total storage is in two of the largest dams – Mukosi and Mutirikwi

“The total internal storage is 10,5 billion cubic metres compared to 180 billion cubic metres in Kariba Dam which is the world’s largest man-made reservoir by volume,” he said.

Eng Maurukira said the country’s major water sources were being underutilised.

“Some of the major dams in the country are currently being under-utilised for instance Mazvikadei, Mutange, Tugwi-Mukosi and Osborne dams.

“In the past water development was separate from downstream development for the utilisation of water that is irrigation development and urban water supply. Government has now moved to integrate dam development projects with the attendant socio-economic developments to utilise water

“Each dam will be constructed with a local development master plan so that the water is used immediately after completion of the dam,” he said.