Government commissions 200 hectare Makwe Irrigation Scheme

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected]

 MINISTER of Lands Agriculture Fisheries Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka is today at Makwe Irrigation Scheme in Gwanda where he is set to commission a 200 hectare irrigation scheme.

 He is also set to handover 10 000 chicks to farmers under the Presidential Poultry Scheme and motor bikes to extension officers.

 The Government under the Second Republic last year came in to assist in reviving the Makwe Irrigation Scheme which had been lying for five years.

 The farmers have 80 hectares under wheat, 27 hectares under maize and 10 hectares under horticulture production. Government under the SmallHolder Irrigation Revitilisation Programme (SIRP) awarded a tender to Forster Irrigation Company which is based in Bulawayo to the tune of US$1 million to rehabilitate the scheme.

 The irrigation scheme which is the largest communal irrigation scheme in the district had been lying idle since 2017 after power supply was disrupted because of theft of copper cables.

 Established in the 1960s Makwe Irrigation Scheme was once the bread basket and major source of income for villagers in the area. It is now set to contribute significantly towards food and nutrition in the province.

 The scheme has 180 members. Government working with various partners, is rehabilitating irrigation schemes that have been lying idle in Matabeleland South Province to improve food and nutrition security and ensure attainment of Vision 2030.

 SIRP was launched in November 2017 with the aim to assist the revitalisation of irrigation schemes across the nation through rehabilitation of infrastructure. It is a Government led programme funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

 Under the Second Republic, the Government is prioritising the revival of the agricultural sector through the development of irrigation schemes to alleviate food insecurity and poverty particularly in rural communities.

 A number of irrigation schemes that had been lying idle in the province have been revived while some that were being underutilized have been capacitated and expanded. Investors through partnership with local farmers have also assisted with resources and equipment to enhance underutilised irrigation schemes.

 Matabeleland South Province falls under Region 4 and 5 where dry land cropping is a major challenge because of poor rains.

 This has made it difficult for farmers to engage in successful crop production. The province is however endowed with abundant underutilised water resources and good soils with vast potential for cropping under irrigation. @DubeMatutu

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