Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
THERE is need to revamp and open new irrigation schemes to counter the effects of droughts so that the nation is always food secure no matter the weather conditions.
Addressing Government department heads, farmers and stakeholders during the launch of the Gweru District Irrigation Schemes (DIS) Management Committee in Gweru on Friday, the Department of Crop and Livestock Production provincial officer for Midlands province Mrs Medlinah Magwenzi said Government was committed to improving food security for the nation.
Mrs Magwenzi said the new DIS was expected to see the revival and rehabilitation is schemes in Gweru District.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the economy and it propels development in all sectors of the economy. We need to revamp all irrigation schemes by working around problems they are facing through the District Irrigation Schemes Management Committee we have launched today. As farmers we need to work with this committee. It is a welcome development for the agricultural sector,” she said.
“Government introduced irrigation schemes to beat climate change and since 2016. We have had Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) assisting in revamping many irrigation schemes in Mberengwa and Gweru areas in support of Government programmes on improving food security.”
CCMT director Mr Wonder Phiri said his organisation had several projects running in the Midlands province adding that the launch of the DIS recognised that agriculture was the cornerstone of the province and country.
“The goal of this programme is to ensure that productivity increases. We would like to thank Government ministries who are collaborating with CCMT in this pilot project. If it is successful it will be taken to other districts across the country,” he said.
Mr Phiri said since 2017 they had been conducting baseline surveys on a number of challenges affecting the viability of irrigation schemes with the hope of finding a lasting solution.
“We chose Mberengwa and Gweru irrigation schemes and did strategic plans and we now have strategic plans and constitutions they developed themselves as irrigation schemes,” he said.
CCMT in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Irrigation, Mechanisation) and AGRITEX, has been implementing irrigation schemes support projects in Mberengwa and Vungu since 2017.
The projects are aimed at contributing towards improved food security through a peaceful life for the inhabitants of irrigation schemes in Mberengwa and Gweru districts.
The resuscitation of the District Irrigation Committees was also seen as critical in ensuring the sustainability of the projects initiated by CCMT and its partners.