By Ndafadza Madanha
NYAKOMBA Irrigation Scheme in Nyanga which is undergoing rehabilitation and construction of new infrastructure in some sections by the Japanese government through a US$15 million grant is expected to benefit 760 small holder farmers.
The project is set to be complete by mid next year will cover over 480 hectares of land which will be under irrigation enabling farmers to grow crops all year round.
Nyakomba irrigation was initially constructed in 1995 with the assistance of the Japanese government but some of the pump houses had fallen into disrepair especially after the cyclone in 2006.
Through the irrigation scheme it is envisaged that yields will double and enhance household food security and incomes in spite of the effects of climate change.
“You may recall that in 2015, we signed a grant amounting to one billion seven hundred and ninety-one million Japanese Yen (JPY1.791 billion), approximately US$15 million, for the development of Nyakomba Irrigation Scheme in Nyanga, Manicaland Province.
The Project entails the construction of irrigation infrastructure in block A and the rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure in blocks B,C and D covering a total of 480 hectares.
The project which commenced in 2016 and is expected to end in June 2019 will benefit 760 small holder farmers. These household will be able to grow various crops all year round,” said Finance minister Mthuli Ncube at a signing ceremony for the Exchange of Notes with Japan for the procurement of cyber security equipment.
Government has committed to put 200 hectares of land under irrigation in each district as way of ensuring food security and offset the effects of climate change.
Further government has committed to rehabilitating and resuscitating several community irrigation projects that had collapsed in the last two decades in drought prone areas.
According to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) the country has over has over 8000 dams with 240 registered as large dams. The authority says agriculture accounts for 80 percent of the water that is used in the water bodies it manages.
Only 7 percent of arable land is irrigated – a mere 3.4 million hectares out of 50 million hectares of arable land in the southern Africa region.