George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Government has renewed its push for the implementation of several anchor projects at the country’s largest inland water body, Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in southern Masvingo to ensure the nation accrues economic benefits from it.
Tugwi-Mukosi is expected to be one of the major drivers of socio-economic growth in Masvingo over the next decade, especially in food security, which dovetails with President Mnangagwa’s vision to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy.
Several anchor projects were identified at the US$270 million reservoir for immediate implementation while waiting for completion of the dam’s master plan.
There were delays in producing the master plan, which will incorporate the irrigation plan and also the scheme designating land use in the dam’s immediate surroundings.
The anchor projects are not affected by absence of the master plan and Government resolved to press ahead with their implementation for the nation to accrue dividends from the idle water body that was commissioned in May 2017. Masvingo provincial development coordinator Mr Fungai Mbetsa yesterday disclosed that Government was determined to make sure the anchor projects are implemented to the full. He said line ministries had been tasked to ensure all the identified projects take off for the benefit of the national economy.
“Some of the anchor projects have taken off while others are on the verge of taking off, but one area where there has been commendable progress is in fisheries where caged fish farming has already taken root with one or two big companies already operating at the dam,” said Mr Mbetsa.
“There are many fish farming cooperatives that have been registered to operate at the dam. This has boosted nutrition for adjacent communities while also cutting down unemployment and improving household disposable income, especially among the rural folk.”
About 180 fishing cooperatives were registered to operate at Tugwi-Mukosi with the bulk of them comprised of Chivi and Masvingo districts communities, which share the 1.8 billion cubic meters capacity water body.
Mr Mbetsa said development of a mini-hydro power plant was one of the projects currently being pursued by Government.
“The Ministry of Energy and Power Development is seized with the issue of the mini-hydro power plant at Tugwi-Mukosi and considerable ground has been covered with a feasibility study for the project being done.”
The planned power plant will generate 15MW which is enough to power the entire Masvingo province and in the dam’s main contract, building of a power house (which houses the plant) was part of recommended.
“We also have projects such as development of a dry harbour and a upgrading of a road to that harbour, this is being pursued at the moment and we expect work to start soon.”
The dry harbour is where recreational ships at the dam will dock and the road to the place designated to house the facility is in bad shape with ZINARA having reportedly committed to finance its upgrade.
“There are also navigation masts for helping ships that must be installed around the dam and that is being worked on including development of tourism facilities at some of the islands inside the huge reservoir, considerable inroads have been made in these areas,” said Mr Mbetsa.