WATCH: Leaving no place behind…Villagers hail Makorokoro transformation Minister of state for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government programmes Dr Joram Gumbo tours the Makorokoro Presidential Horticultural Programme in Mangwe District

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]  

WALKING long distances in search of water, relying on neighbouring Botswana for mobile phone connectivity and boarding buses to either Bulawayo or Plumtree to buy food were  everyday realities for the Jinjika community in Mangwe, Matabeleland South province.

Situated near Shashe River, which straddles the Zimbabwe and Botswana border, Jinjika village had been left behind in terms of development.  

Their situation was characterised by despair and hopelessness.  Even the gods were not smiling at them. Jinjika is one of the driest areas in the country and in successive years, they planted and harvested nothing.

In December 2021, a new chapter was opened when President Mnangagwa visited the area to launch the Sekusile Makorokoro Presidential Horticulture Programme. 

Under the Presidential Rural Development Scheme, Government will drill and equip one borehole in each of the country’s 35 000 villages. 

The programme is expected to uplift over 1,8 million households from poverty into prosperity through increased household incomes as well as the creation of employment and empowerment opportunities.

Each village will also be empowered with a nutrition garden with a wide range of fruit trees and sweet potato vines being distributed to households.

It will improve access to water and through horticulture produce, communities’ diet is expected to  improve through solar powered irrigation farming.

This is part of the Government’s strategy to transform rural communities to be more economically productive as the country inches towards Vision 2030.

Since President Mnangagwa’s launch of the project nearly two years ago, lives are being transformed beyond the agriculture projects.

While the aim of horticulture garden was to ensure crop production, Government deliberately installed a communal tap water system ending the village’s water distress for both people and livestock in the dry region which often experienced water challenges especially during the dry season.

As life is made easier for the community, a Chronicle news crew yesterday observed rural women moving from the traditional hand pump borehole to just opening tap water to draw water without a hustle. Miss Thandolwenkosi Sikhosana (25), said prior to the drilling of the tap water community borehole, they struggled to get clean water and were even using unprotected water sources. 

“We didn’t have a reliable source of water. Our hand pump boreholes would sometimes break down forcing us to draw water from unprotected sources such as wells, but now life has been made easy,” she said.

“Anytime, we come here and draw water from this tap. Our lives as women have been made easier and we are thankful to the interventions that came with the establishment of the garden which also provides us with a source of living.”

Makorokoro garden crops

Sekusile Makorokoro Presidential Horticulture Scheme chairperson Mr Buzwani Maphosa said the garden has changed the lives of nearly 150 villagers in the area.

He said while they have directly benefited from the garden, the Presidential scheme also brought development to the community.

“Since we started farming, we have harvested four times and this is our fifth crop. The garden has changed our lives. We have been able to supply the local market with our products and even sell to the neighbouring villages such as Mayobodo,” said Mr Maphosa.

“In the past, people used to travel as far as Bulawayo just to get vegetables but we are now the major supplier here. Even our nutrition has greatly improved.”

Mr Maphosa said the establishment of the garden had also led to development in the community. 

He said part of the transformation is that they can now access local mobile telecommunication services unlike in the past when they relied on Botswana cellphone networks.

Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Dr Joram Gumbo who yesterday was touring the Sekusile Makorokoro Presidential Horticulture Scheme expressed satisfaction with development trajectory that has been implemented by the Second Republic in the area.


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