National Accelerated Irrigation Development Programme (NAIDP) gets US $48m for purposes of reviving the irrigation in Zimbabwe. At least 10 major irrigation schemes in Masvingo province are set to undergo rehabilitation and expansion from the funds budgeted for by Treasury.
Once implemented successfully, the development is expected to usher in a new era in food security in the province. Mushandike and Chilonga irrigation schemes are some of the beneficiaries. When fully operational, the two irrigation schemes have a combined irrigable hectarage of over 1 000ha.
This is following a halt in operations at the 847.5ha Mushandike Irrigation Scheme in August last year after Mushandike Dam, which supplied water to the scheme, dried up owing to drought and massive siltation that forced plot holders to turn to dry-land farming.
Chilonga has not been operating since 2016 after silt submerged the pump station for the scheme in Runde River.Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa, on Monday said Government had already availed funding for the schemes’ rehabilitation. Upon completion of the rehabilitation exercise, irrigation services will be restored on a combined 1 350ha across Masvingo.
The Deputy Minister further added that the excercies will see Masvingo have more hectares under irrigation.
According to media reports, the largest chunk of the funding, US $14.2m will go towards construction of a canal from Muzhwi Dam in northern Chivi to Mushandike Dam. The canal will augment water supplies in the dam, leading to the revival of Mushandike scheme, which directly benefited 565 plot-holders before its collapse.
The Chilonga scheme was allocated US $6.2m and its revival is key to improving food security in the northern parts of Chikombedzi.