By Sydney Mubaiwa
Irrigation farming has potential to transform the country’s economic fortunes and enhance Government’s vision to attain middle upper income status by the year 2030.
Addressing farmers at Stanmore B Irrigation Scheme recently, Secretary for Agriculture, Mr Ringson Chitsiko has said Government has lined up a number of irrigation development projects.
He said the use of requites tools, technology and skills was a boon for agriculture infrastructure development and production.
“Irrigation farming is the way to transform our economy and achieve Vision 2030. Through irrigation and adapting to modern ways of farming, we will increase productivity and become a major exporter of agricultural produce.
“Productivity and utilisation of agricultural land has been hampered by the adverse effects of climate change, constrained access to markets and inadequate skills among some of our farmers,” said Mr Chitsiko.
“As Government, we are geared towards transforming the sector through broadening access to agricultural finance and inputs; promoting productivity, enhancing extension services and irrigation infrastructure and developing markets for our value-added products to earn foreign currency.”
Mr Chitsiko also encouraged stakeholders in different provinces to take advantage of water bodies in their respective areas to maximise agriculture productivity.
He said agro-based economies, if properly managed, would boost the national economy under the envisage devolution programme.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy, hence irrigation development is indeed most opportune.
“As a Government, we continue to encourage stakeholders within the respective provinces to take stock of their natural and man-made endowments and craft specific, achievable development plans towards the achievement of Vision 2030,” he said.
He also urged institutions of higher learning to create innovation hubs with a bias to technology and agriculture infrastructure development.
“Tertiary institution’s research and innovations should cut across all key sub-sectors of agriculture production such as irrigation farming , poultry, beef, piggery, fisheries, wildlife, horticulture, apiculture and all cash crops in the various agro-ecological zones,” said Mr Chitsiko. Government in partnership with non-profit making organisations like the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation is in the midst of revamping and upgrading irrigation projects countrywide to boost food nutrition and self-economic sustenance at household level.