By Ndafadza Madanha
THE Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) through its conflict intervention programmes has managed to mediate in the resolution of debts owed by irrigation schemes in the Midlands province to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).
Some schemes in the provinces had stopped operations owing to the amounts owed to the institutions.
The organisation has worked with four irrigation schemes directly namely Biri extension, Insukamini, Mkoba and London in two Districts (Mberengwa and Vungu Districts).
“Biri Extension Irrigation Scheme owed ZESA $129 000.00 and ZINWA $79,000.00. The debts were reduced to $ 10,000.00 and $12,000.00 respectively after the conflict intervention by CCMT.
The reduction of the debts improved the relationship between the IS and the service providers to the extent that farmers are now religiously paying their bills. The service providers have also taken a softer stance and are no longer cut of electricity and water without engaging with the farmers first.
Insukamini owed ZINWA $10,000. Using the skills they gained through the CCMT processes, the scheme was able to negotiate and get their bill cancelled by the Ministry in line with the reprieve that was given to all Irrigation Schemes by the government in 2012”.
Additionally Phiri said that the organisation indirectly has supported 13 Irrigation schemes in the two Districts through the District Irrigation Committees. The DICs are made of up Irrigation Scheme Chairpersons from all the Irrigation Schemes, the Department of Irrigation, AGRITEX and the District Administrator.
He said the resuscitation of the DICs in the districts to among other things; create a platform where farmers can share information with regards marketing of their produce and coordinate marketing of their crops. The organisation has also facilitated exposure visits where the Irrigation Scheme farmers visited other schemes so as to learn how other farmers are marketing their crops. ENDS