Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau
Treasury will finance the clearing of 300 000 hectares of land for agricultural purposes and also fund water reticulation and acquisition for irrigation equipment to support the Government’s plans to turn the Lowveld into a green belt, Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza has said.
Dr Nzenza, who was standing in for Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, said this during Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s visit to Kanyemba recently to assess developmental projects being undertaken in that area.
“I was asked by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to provide three key messages,” she said. “Firstly, that Treasury is going to provide funding to clear the 300 000 hectares earmarked for agriculture purposes.
“Secondly, the Treasury will cover the cost of water reticulation and acquisition. Lastly that funding for irrigation infrastructure will be provided.”
Dr Nzenza said the relationship between her ministry and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement was intertwined.
“What is planted needs fertiliser and fertiliser is produced by industry,” she said. “Agriculture needs seeds and chemicals, which also come from industry. The two ministries work together in complete synergy.
“The beneficiation process and the pricing of farm produce is also part of industry. We come together for one goal, which is food security. We are focusing on reducing imports so that we have local production and creation of jobs towards increased production and food security.”
Speaking at the same meeting, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement permanent secretary Dr John Bhasera said they met all set targets under the programme of developing 100 000 hectares in the Lowveld.
“Vice President Chiwenga advised us to take advantage of the abundant water bodies and weather conditions,” he said. “We are taking advantage of the wet and hot summer and warm and dry winter. We will do double cropping and have two maize cycles to turn it into a maize green belt.
“All the set targets were met in Bulawayo and Chilonga, which are part of the Lowveld green belt. In Kanyemba, we have set a target of October to have finished land clearance and preparation.
“We promise you that in the next two weeks, contractors will be on site for land clearance. Two hundred and forty-six hectares have been cleared so far and we want to add another 3 000 in Kanyemba, 5 000 in Angwa and 2 500 in Mushumbi.
“Kanyemba has an abundant water body and we have engaged engineers, including Paul Kruger, to come up with designs on how efficiently we can draw water from the Zambezi River to irrigate all the cleared land.
“We are happy that electrification of Kanyemba is at an advanced stage so that we can power irrigation development. We are receiving proposals for different agriculture projects in Kanyemba and we are making sure that within a short period the proposals are processed.”