Government rolls out drought mitigation centres Water tanks that have been mounted at a drought mitigation centre in Garanyemba Ward

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT has started constructing drought mitigation centres in over 1 600 rural wards across the country is in response to the effects of El Nino-induced drought with Garanyemba in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South Province identified as a pilot project.

The project, under the Rural Development 8.0 programme, will be replicated in all 1 620 rural wards across the country. 

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development launched the Rural Development 8.0 model aimed at eradicating poverty in all its forms, including food and water poverty through a “agricultural development-rural industrialisation-rural Development-Vision 2030 nexus.”

Villagers from Garanyemba area construct water troughs at a drought mitigation centre in their ward.

Under the programme, Government is setting up nutrition gardens, livestock feeding troughs, livestock water troughs and supplementary and feeding troughs. Livestock sales centres are being also constructed in each drought mitigation centres, which will have solar-powered boreholes.

In an interview soon after launching the Garanyemba drought mitigation centre yesterday, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the intervention will help the country to sustain the national herd over the next five months before the rainy season.

He said the project will be implemented timeously to ensure that communities are cushioned against the effects of the El Nino-induced drought.

“The President His Excellency Dr ED Mnangagwa directed that the ministry draft drought measures and strategies for mitigation and resilience building focusing on crops, horticulture, fisheries and livestock. In the livestock provinces, which include Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North we are establishing ward-based livestock drought mitigation centres,” said Dr Masuka.

“Here in Garanyemba, we are in the process of constructing one. These drought mitigation centres will comprise solar-powered boreholes, nutrition gardens, feeding troughs, water troughs and supplementary feeding troughs.”

Dr Masuka said nutrition gardens will support both horticulture crops and fodder production to sustain both people and animals. He said fodder production will ensure that farmers supplement their animals for the best performance. Dr Masuka said the livestock sales centre will control the sale of livestock. No farmer will be allowed to sell an animal from their kraal while buyers will be expected to purchase cattle from stipulated points on organised dates. 

Dr Masuka said the move will help the Government to control the market price to protect farmers from being cheated  by cattle buyers.

“We intend to establish one such drought mitigation centre in all wards in the country starting with the most stressed wards. For now, we have the material to establish such centres in 600 wards. We will find a way of accelerating this programme so that we can do this in the shortest possible time,” he said.

Dr Masuka said Government is rapidly rolling out this programme. 

“In the next five months to November, we have to be able to sustain the livestock in our communities as the dams are dry. We don’t want livestock and people to go a long distance to access water,” he said. 

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Dr Evelyn Ndlovu said the programme will boost rural industrialisation and development in the province. She said the Second Republic continues to walk the talk in terms of rolling out development programmes in line with Vision 2030.

Dr Ndlovu said the livestock sector is one of the main contributors to the province’s GDP.

The province has a herd of over 650 000 cattle.

“Any project that seeks to boost the livestock sector is a massive boost to our economy as a province as we are a cattle area. The intervention will save our provincial herd and at the same time, farmers will have access to better farming practices beyond this drought. Our farmers will be able to produce quality livestock,” she said.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Deputy Minister who is also Gwanda South legislator, Dr Omphile Marupi said the intervention came at the right time as villagers throughout the constituency were facing challenges in accessing water.

“We engaged the Government on this challenge that we were facing as a community and we are glad that we got a response timeously. This programme has been rolled out by our President to ensure that we have sufficient water and food for our animals and ourselves,” he said.

“We are happy since we are piloting this project. Government under the leadership of President Mnangagwa is fulfilling its promise of leaving no one and no place behind.”

Mtandawenema village head, Mr Mlamuleli Moyo said the project will bring relief to the community. — @DubeMatutu




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