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Gov to increase land under irrigation to 350 000h

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Gov to increase land under irrigation to 350 000h



MASVINGO – Government has ambitious plans to increase total land under irrigation by 71,3% from 204 300h in 2022 to 350 000h in 2025, according to statistics given by the Acting Director (Communications and Advocacy) in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Barbra Machekano at a media workshop last week.
She called upon the media to assist Government achieve this milestone by inviting the private sector to join in the irrigation programme. Putting agriculture under irrigation is necessary to mitigate the country against the accelerated negative effects of climate change and for food security.
Machekano said the total irrigable land in Zimbabwe is 2 million hectare and ultimately that target must be reached.
“Between 2020 and 2022, Government managed to increase land available to irrigation by 17% from 173 500h to 204 300h,” said Machekano
She said irrigation development and rehabilitation is essential for enhancing household and national food security in the face of climate induced drought.
The two-day workshop held at Chevron, a Regency Group Hotel for the Global Climate Fund (GCF) project was organised by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Machekano emphasised the media’s crucial role in encouraging the corporate sector to partake in the development of irrigation schemes. Zimbabwe has 10 700 water bodies which can irrigate 2 million hectares.
“With Zimbabwe expected to become drier in the decades ahead due to climate change, acceleration of irrigation rehabilitation and development is required to sustain production of crops, fisheries, and livestock to meet local and increasing export demands,” she said.
 Machekano said Government is pushing the irrigation thrust to increase area under irrigation to 350 000 hectares by 2025.
“Climate change remained a constant threat to the implementation of the Agriculture Food Systems and Transformation Strategy. We want to start irrigation from small holder. As a nation we have 10 700 water bodies which can irrigate 2 million hectares but we are currently irrigating about 270 000 hectares. We have to increase it to 2 million.
“The media has a role to play to invite corporate sector to help us in this. Drought is a threat to everyone and as long as the situation remains like this, all sectors suffer and even our economy goes down,” she added.
She added that as a result of drought, the country may be forced to import food to feed the nation when the money could be channelled towards other needs.
She said communities that are settling nearby dams including Tokwe Mukosi have no irrigation yet they have access to water close by.
“The current El Nino induced drought has taught us that we cannot rely on dry land agriculture for guaranteed food security. As such Government is pushing the irrigation thrust to increase area under irrigation to 350 000 hectares by 2025,” she said.
Government recently adopted a new project model where dam construction is accompanied by irrigation, domestic water supply, fisheries, and electricity development.
The 12 dam projects scope was expanded accordingly in 2021. Storage capacity of these is 12.5 billion by 2025 and should avail an additional 74 000ha for irrigation.
The Ministry of Lands intends to transform 460 rural irrigation schemes into viable Irrigation Scheme Business Units (ISBU) under the Vision 2030 Accelerator model and to build a modern, technology-driven, resilient, inclusive and climate-smart agricultural sector by 2025.

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