Mberengwa irrigation committee launched
Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THERE is a need for stakeholders to eradicate conflicts affecting the viability of many irrigation schemes in the Midlands Province, a Government official has said.
Addressing Government departmental heads, farmers and seed companies during the launch of the Mberengwa District Irrigation Schemes (DIS) Management Committee in Mberengwa yesterday – the Department of Crop and Livestock Production Provincial Officer for Midlands province, Mrs Medlinah Magwenzi said conflicts at irrigation schemes affect food and nutrition security for the community and the country at large.
“There should be a proper way of handling conflicts so that problems are addressed, and production forged ahead. We are happy we have the Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) which had done well in managing conflicts in irrigation schemes in the province -a development that has seen the revival and launch of district irrigation schemes in areas such as Gweru and Mberengwa. If this is done well, it will also oil up everything and at the end of the day food and nutrition security is addressed,” she said.
Through the DIS, Mrs Magwenzi said, Mberengwa District will be food and nutrition secure.
She said the Government is advocating for use of land and irrigation schemes because wealth comes from the soil.
“Government introduced irrigation schemes to beat climate change and since 2016- we have had Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation assisting in revamping many irrigation schemes in Mberengwa and Gweru areas in support of Government programmes on improving food security,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said Mberengwa is one of the districts in the province which are prone to droughts and therefore the need to rehabilitate irrigation systems.
“This region is in region four and five and we have seven irrigation schemes meaning the people here can survive on irrigation. Food and nutrition security are a cause of concern as there are challenges which are being addressed. Government formed Agritex department because it saw the need for experts on the ground to advocate for food and nutrition security,” she said.
CCMT director Mr Wonder Phiri said officialising the operationalisation of Mberengwa District Irrigation committee and hand over of two working documents which are the constitution and the strategic plan will give farmers a platform to exchange of notes, views and processes to increase food security from the community level while managing conflicts.
He said the Mberengwa DIS was launched two weeks after the launch of the Gweru DIS. “This launch is important for us as it brings farmers together for the sole goal of fighting hunger and managing conflicts,” he said.
Mr Phiri said climate change results are showing and therefore the need for farmers to be proactive. “Temperatures are rising, seasons changing but we don’t want to see conflicts because of low rains and low yields. That should not separate us. We need to work together and revive irrigation schemes. Our Government is also pushing for revival of irrigation schemes because they are central to food security for the country,” he said.
Mr Phiri said there is great potential for irrigation schemes in the Midlands province to play a leading role in contributing to food security.
“The launch of DIS and management committee needs you people on the ground. You need to follow the action plan and be proactive in your schemes. Government or CCMT can’t be on the ground everyday but the need for you to apply your mind and work towards achieving a goal in attaining food security. Food security is good for a safe, stable and developing Zimbabwe that we want,” he said.