Ministry ordered to exploit all water bodies

Ministry ordered to exploit all water bodies | The Herald April 4, 2016

From George Maponga in CHIREDZI
President Mugabe has directed that the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ministry dispatches experts countrywide to examine existing water bodies that can be immediately rehabilitated and provide water for irrigation to boost food security following recurrent droughts.

Zimbabwe is currently battling severe food deficit that has left more than 4 million people in need of assistance.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made, on Friday said President Mugabe directed that all water bodies be harnessed as part of home-grown solutions to improve food supply situation.

Speaking at Triangle sugar estates in Chiredzi at the official handover of over 1 300 tonnes of maize to Government that was grown by Tongaat Hulett on its cane fields under the winter maize project, Dr Made said Government was targeting A2 farmers countrywide to be at the forefront of exploiting existing water bodies near them.

Dr Made said Government wanted A2 farmers to venture into irrigation and prioritise maize and wheat growing.

“We have teams that are already on the ground around the country identifying all existing water bodies so that they can be used for irrigation purposes. President Mugabe recently expressed concern that the country is facing food shortages yet we have many underutilised water bodies that can turnaround the fortunes of our country,’’ he said.

“President Mugabe directed us that we should speedily identify these water bodies and target A2 farmers who will use the water for irrigation purposes. We will of course appeal to these A2 farmers to prioritise the production of wheat and maize because they are very critical crops,’’ added Dr Made.

He said Government would assist the A2 farmers with machinery and other equipment to capacitate them.

He said Zimbabwe had several agricultural support facilities with countries such as China, Brazil and India among others that would see mainly A2 farmers getting equipment and other machinery to boost productivity on farms.

“We will give the A2 farmers machinery, agricultural equipment and inputs for them to fully use water bodies near them but the assistance will not be for free. That is why we will not force the farmers to grow a certain type of crop though we will appeal to them to prioritise maize and wheat,’’ he said.

Dr Made challenged Parliamentarians and traditional leaders among other community leaders to help in the identification of water bodies in their localities that would be tapped for irrigation.

He said Government was also exploring the possibility of supporting the production of winter maize in lowveld regions where the weather was warmer during winter as part of efforts to improve food security.

“The question that I am posing to you today is, should we as a country move ahead and promote the production of winter maize countrywide because every province in this country has a lowveld where the weather will be warmer during winter and thereby ideal for the production of maize in winter?’’ asked Dr Made.

“President Mugabe has already given us a challenge on how we can utilise the numerous water bodies that we have in this country to grow maize in winter, the challenge was presented to us as the technical people and we must pursue that to see how best it can be done,’’ he added.

He challenged more local farmers to consider production of staple crops such as maize and wheat on a commercial basis taking advantage of the prevailing food deficit that is blamed on global warming that is inducing more droughts especially in Africa.

Dr Made paid tribute to Tongaat Hulett for leading the way in heeding the call from Government to help in the mitigation of the prevailing drought that forced Government to declare a state of disaster and appeal for local and international food aid assistance.

He appealed to Tongaat to continue with the winter maize programme.

“The maize is there for everyone to see and I know that this (Tongaat Hulett winter maize project) was an experiment following a request from Government and my appeal to Tongaat Hulett is that may you continue with this project into the future and help ease the food shortages currently facing the country. It is very good that this maize was grown locally, which means we can provide solutions to our own problems as a country,’’ added Dr Made.

In his address, Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe, also hailed Tongaat Hulett for successfully implementing project.

Dr Mushowe urged Tongaat to maintain the winter maize project to alleviate food shortages in Masvingo.

“Our appeal to you (Tongaat Hulett) is that you must continue growing maize into the future to improve our food security and maybe even eventually allow the land that you are growing the maize to be taken over by the beneficiaries of the maize themselves in line with the land reform programme,’’ he said.

Tongaat Hulett managing director, Mr Sydney Mtsambiwa, said his firm ventured into winter maize production on 329 hectares of its cane plantations following a request by Government for the company to help in the mitigation of the prevailing El-Nino induced drought.

Mr Mtsambiwa said the $500 000 winter maize project by his company was aimed at improving food security at household level.

Winter maize production in the Lowveld was initially started by Tongaat in the early 1990s after the then Masvingo Provincial Governor and now Psychomotor Activities Minister Josaya Hungwe appealed to the sugar producer to embark on the project in the wake of 1992 drought.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar

    don’t worry chaps …. patrick zhuwao will soon take over Triangle / Tongaat-Hulett for his indigenisation project, and then we can have another water body that is not being utilised.
    as for utilising the available water resources stored in dams, — ah well – shouldn’t have trashed the billions of dollars worth of existing irrigation systems during the FTLR.

  • comment-avatar
    Piankhi 6 years ago

    Wow, the President thougth of that solution all by himself. The man is amazing. All farmers have to do now is conjoure of some money all will be well. And all it took was the mind of the 92 year old God to solve this problem. What an amazing leader, Meade too. Keep up the good work you guys. In about another 100 years or so when the President is 192 year old. We will see such abondance of agriculture. Now that is a timeless Patron. Cannot wait to hear about his next ideal a few centuries from now. This is fantastic. Boy our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, will be so happy about this revelation from the President. What a blessing to have Methuselah as the leader of the country. Can wait to see what the next 900 years will bring. Everybody native Zimbabwean smile. Remember the President said the people want him to keep standing as their leader. What a great day.