Mashudu Netsianda in Binga
THE Government will ensure no community in Zimbabwe is left behind in development in line with the devolution thrust enunciated by President Mnangagwa.
Under the Second Republic, the government is also prioritising revival of the agriculture sector through irrigation schemes particularly in rural communities.
Speaking after an assessment of the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme here yesterday, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the government would ensure there was enough food in the country after the launch of Agriculture and Food Systems Recovery Strategy by President Mnangagwa on August 26. The programme aims to provide a campus for agriculture in line with Vision 2030.
“The strategy aims, among other things, to ensure that we produce enough maize, wheat and soya beans to meet domestic demand and then export surplus,” said VP Chiwenga.
“Government is working on reviving the agriculture sector and we are saying no community in Zimbabwe should be seen lagging behind in terms of development. All communities in Zimbabwe that have been lagging behind will be assisted.”
VP Chiwenga said the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme remained one of the Government’s key priorities.
“The Bulawayo Kraal project is generally aimed at transforming the socio-economic livelihoods of our people as we move towards the attainment of Vision 2030,” he said.
“Specifically, Government intends to transform local communities of Binga from subsistence to commercial farming.”
VP Chiwenga urged the Binga community to embrace the development plan, which Government had formulated to transform livelihoods.
“I want to encourage you the people of Binga to participate in the project, initially as in-growers and later out-growers,” he said.
Already, 467 pipes for the main line linking the engine water pumps from the Zambezi River to the overnight storage dams have been delivered, with three centre pivots being rehabilitated at Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme.
At least 200 hectares of land has been cleared for the summer cropping season and thebGovernment has under the Agriculture Recovery Plan, set aside 100 000 hectares of land, which will be transformed into a greenbelt with an anticipated yield of at least one million tonnes of maize in the next three years.
The massive project will be implemented at Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme in Binga, the Lowveld areas of Masvingo and Kanyemba in Mashonaland Central and will be done in phases to boost food production.
The Government is roping in the private sector in the programme and 100 000 hectares of virgin land will be opened up in the three identified provinces.
The programme will also help in cutting imports and accelerate the attainment of Vision 2030 goals.
Vice President Chiwenga said the plan would ensure the country preserved foreign currency by reducing the food import bill.
“Government proposes to create a maize belt in the Lowveld areas of Masvingo, Bulawayo Kraal and Kanyemba through the Agriculture Recovery Plan where the country will be able to have two maize cycles per year under irrigation,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said the Government was encouraging smart partnerships with the corporate sector.
At Bulawayo Kraal, the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) entered into a joint venture with a local private company to put 15 000 hectares of land under food crops, export crops and crocodile farming.
The Government directed Arda and its investment partners to develop 400 hectares at Bulawayo Kraal and take over installed equipment, as well as assume the debt/loan component.
Arda will enter into a 25-year concession agreement with one of the investors at Bulawayo Kraal, creating a guided core estate in grower and outgrower schemes.
“The Ministry will be responsible for project land allocation and overall supervision of policy guidance on the project,” said VP Chiwenga.
“The investor will raise capital for the project which shall be a combination of equity and debt and development of the entire 15 000 hectares of crops and citrus, as well as the installation of centre pivot irrigation scheme.”
So far 200 hectares of land, which have been cleared at Bulawayo Kraal, have been put under white sorghum, with 965 pipes worth $25 million for the 4km pipeline to the night storage dam having been procured for the project.
VP Chiwenga said value addition facilities and production of value-added products for both local and export trading would be established at Bulawayo Kraal.
Under the rural development programmes, Arda will also implement fisheries and crocodile farming projects in the Zambezi River for the benefit of local communities.
Arda will also engage a separate partner who will work in the implementation of the project. The fisheries project will be supported under the agricultural revolving fund.
Bulawayo Kraal was established in 1996 after local villagers from Manjolo and Siachilaba approached Government for assistance to develop an irrigation scheme to cushion them against droughts.