BY BEAUTY NYUKE/DONALD NYANDORO
Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka yesterday said the country had enough water to meet winter irrigation targets following the heavy rains received between November last year and last month.
Speaking at a winter cropping stakeholders’ indaba in Harare, Masuka said the 2021 farming season was the second best since 1970. The indaba was hosted by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
He said all seven catchments were at an average of 92%, holding sufficient water to sustain the winter cropping season.
“There is definitely no excuse for this country to go hungry when we have all the potential dams to enable the farmers to get more yields,” he said.
The minister said 85 000 hectares were expected to be put under winter wheat this coming season, with an expected output of 360 000 metric tonnes.
Government and private players will fund the wheat cropping season.
“We must harness, conveyance and conserve this scarce resource. In this regard, catchment management, elimination of harmful practices, inclusive of river bed mining, streambank cultivation and siltation must be given urgent attention,” he said.
Zinwa chief executive officer Taurai Maurikira said the country had 534 water supply stations reserved for the coming winter cropping season, where
350 000 hectares would be under irrigation.
Low wheat output has over the years forced the country to rely on imports, putting pressure on the national fiscus.
Zinwa chief director of water resources and hydrological services Tinayeshe Mutazu said there was need to regulate the water sector by licensing water users to sustain the resource and ensure dam safety
“Provision of water service is a natural monopoly and capital intensive activity,” he said. “The provision of safe water and sanitation has benefits but requires investment and commitment.”
Mutazu said water and sanitation regulation should provide an enabling environment for service providers.
Zinwa is a government-owned entity tasked with managing the country’s water resources.