By George Maponga and Martha Leboho
Government has announced plans to construct canals fromMuzhwi Dam in Chivi and Matezva Dam in Gutu to adjacent commercial farms and irrigation schemes, as part of efforts to make Masvingo food secure by exploiting the province’s high dam density.
The two projects will gobble over $50 million and will see an additional 2 000 hectares being put under irrigation in the drought-stricken province.
Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Davis Marapira said work on the pipeline projects was going to start soon with funding from Treasury.
Speaking during a recent tour of Matezva and Muzhwi dams ahead of the start of the pipeline project recently, Cde Marapira announced plans to build a 13km water pipeline from Matezva Dam to Mara Irrigation Scheme.
“The pipeline will supply water to overnight storage dams that will be constructed along its way to Mara and the small dams will irrigate adjacent plots and commercial farms,” he said.
Cde Marapira said at Muzhwi, Government was going to construct a pipeline that is more than 30km from the reservoir to Mushandike Irrigation Scheme.
The pipeline will also provide water to overnight storage dams that will be built along its path to provide water to small-holder irrigation schemes along the way.
He said plans were afoot to construct a weir along Tokwe River downstream of Muzhwi Dam that will feed into the Mushandike-bound canal.
“Mushandike Irrigation Scheme is envisaged to expand by 1 000 hectares, bringing its total hectarage to nearly 2 000 hectares because of the canal we will build and I am happy Treasury has given the nod for work to start as soon as possible, but all the projects will be done in phases.”
Cde Marapira said it was imperative for the province to leverage on its abundant water bodies and river systems that provided wide scope for irrigation.
Major irrigation schemes can be set up along perennially flowing rivers in Masvingo such as Tugwi, Mutirikwi, Runde, Mwenezi and Chiredzi.