Zimbabwean Government Commits to Transforming Agriculture Through Irrigation.

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The Zimbabwean government has demonstrated its unshakable commitment to bolstering the farm sector’s resilience to climate change by promoting irrigation use and supporting private sector involvement in the schema’s actualization.

Professor Obert Jiri, permanent secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, stated that in order for farmers to increase yields during protracted dry spells, they needed support from irrigation infrastructure in a recent X (previously Twitter) post.

Prof. Jiri noted that irrigation development was crucial for Pfumvudza/Intwasa, village-youth-school business units, irrigation schemes, large-scale irrigation projects, and estates, among other things, at every level.

“It is therefore critical for the country to invest in the construction of many water reservoirs such as dams and weirs to ensure water for irrigation is readily accessible,” he said.

His remarks follow Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development Vangelis Haritatos’ recent stakeholder engagement event in Harare. The purpose of the event was to persuade commercial entities to spend money on irrigation infrastructure in order to climate-proof agricultural practices, which are now endangered by unpredictable rainfall patterns.

As the nation took steps to guarantee the irrigation push was successful, Prof. Jiri also pushed farmers to collaborate with the corporate sector.

“Zvavachari Irrigation Scheme in Mberengwa District is a remarkable example of how the irrigation thrust, which the Government is aggressively pursuing is spearheading the rural development and rural industrialization agenda. More than 50 households are earning a living from irrigation activities,” he said in his post.

Regardless of the size of their fields, irrigation should be used by everyone, from backyard gardens to large commercial farms, according to Mrs. Wendy Madzura, head of agronomy at Seed Co.

“It is imperative for commercial farmers to invest in irrigation systems that utilize various technologies such as center pivots, irrigation guns, and different-sized sprinklers. Therefore, before deciding on their best match, farmers are urged to consult with experts,” she continued.

By 2025, the Agricultural and Food Systems Transformation Strategy and the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) program aim to increase the area under irrigation from the present 203 000ha to 350 000ha.

As it works to expand the area under irrigation, the government hopes to establish alliances with the corporate sector. Due to the capital-intensive nature of irrigation development, all parties involved in the agriculture industry must participate comprehensively.

Engineer Bezel Chitsungo, the director of the Department of Irrigation Development, stated that while the nation possessed competent professionals for dam construction, the majority of the water bodies required to be completely exploited for irrigation.

“The country has the potential to irrigate up to two million hectares of land if all existing dams and those under construction are fully utilized. We are also exploring transboundary water resources such as the Zambezi River in the north and the Limpopo River in the south and also unlocking the potential of the Pfungwe water system and the groundwater resources, which are regarded as unexploited. This could contribute to expanding the irrigated land area,” said Eng Chitsungo.

Out of a potential two million hectares, Eng Chitsungo stated, only 220,000 hectares had irrigation infrastructure. 203 000ha of the 220 000ha of irrigation infrastructure that are in use indicate that there is a 20 000ha equipment deficiency that has to be addressed.

The dams at Tugwi Mukosi, Manyuchi, and Mazvikadeyi are among the underutilized dams that collectively may provide to the irrigation of 40.000, 5,000, and 7,000 hectares of land.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) is involved in the government’s intentional policy strategy, the Agricultural and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, which speeds up irrigation development in order to fulfill the aggressive targets.

By working with the business sector, the government hopes to achieve the goal of 350,000 hectares of irrigation development by taking a holistic approach to the field.

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