Irrigation Boost for Rural Communities

Rural and marginalised communities will gain from accelerated irrigation and the planned US$8 billion industrial roadmap that will complement the country’s devolution agenda.

Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting in Harare, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said the Kanyemba and Tugwi-Mukosi agricultural schemes were among investments set to benefit from the approved US$8 billion Industrial and Commercial Sector Roadmap by 2023.

Other investments for implementation are 23 planned projects amounting to US$545 million in the food, drink and tobacco sub-sectors, US$32 million in the textiles, clothing and leather sub-sectors, and eight projects valued at US$1,5 billion in the metals and electrical sub-sectors.

The plan, which will involve both private and public sectors was presented by Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, as the chairman of the Combined Cabinet Committee on Innovation, Technology Development and Application and Committee on Industrial and Export Development.

“The roadmap outlines the plan to raise the manufacturing and commercial sector contribution to GDP from the current US$7,16 billion to US$8,03 billion by 2023, through the sector’s diversified 94 sub-sectors,” said Minister Ndlovu.

“In the interim, the sector contribution to GDP is projected to grow to US$7,4 billion in 2021 and US$7,7 billion in 2022.”

Minister Ndlovu said Community Share Ownership Trusts would continue to be used for enhanced rural industrialisation with emphasis on corporate social responsibility to ensure their funding and operation.

Growth in the manufacturing and commercial sectors will leverage on the Second Republic’s thrust towards re-engagement and reforms for ease of doing business. The implementation of the Special Economic Zones and the One-Stop-Shop were to be key enablers of economic growth.

“Furthermore, the country is already implementing the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) and the Comesa Industrialisation Strategy (2017-2025), which strategies are anchored on value chain development and beneficiation. The National Development Strategy 1 (NDS-1) 2021-2025, the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023) as well as the Local Content Strategy will also buttress the roadmap,” said the Minister.

The Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan, which will run from 2021 to 2025 was presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka on behalf of the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.

Under this plan, the country’s annual cropping area will be increased from 156 000ha to 350 000ha and the irrigation area would be dramatically increased to 400 000ha by 2025.

To meet the plan’s objectives, 45 000ha of existing irrigation capacity would be rehabilitated and modernised with another 204 000ha irrigated with new infrastructure to empower rural and marginalised areas.

About 450 irrigation schemes are set to reap from the rehabilitation of 26 000ha of communal irrigation capacity and establishment of a Presidential District Irrigation Vision 2030 Accelerator, comprising 200ha per district.

Zimbabwe is endowed with vast arable land, large reservoirs of underground and surface water with over 8 000 dams, favourable climatic conditions and an array of rich flora and fauna, which poise agriculture as a key driver in economic growth, particularly through irrigation.

With over 39,6 million hectares of land and complementary agro-climatic conditions, the country can sustain over 23 types of food and cash crops plus a multiplicity of livestock species.

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