Bu­l­awayo Kraal to be part of com­mand agri­cul­ture scheme

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

BU­L­AWAYO kraal Ir­ri­ga­tion Scheme in Binga will be in­cor­po­rated into the re­cently launched com­mand agri­cul­ture scheme that is aimed at en­hanc­ing grain pro­duc­tion in the coun­try, the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment, Cde Joseph Made has said.

The gov­ern­ment launched the $500 mil­lion pro­gramme two weeks ago with the aim of pro­duc­ing two mil­lion tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land.

Un­der the pro­gramme, 2 000 farm­ers will be given inputs, ir­ri­ga­tion and mech­a­nised equip­ment but will be re­quired to give five tonnes per hectare to gov­ern­ment as re­pay­ment.

Min­is­ter Made on Fri­day said Binga ir­ri­ga­tion scheme would be in­cor­po­rated into the com­mand agri­cul­ture scheme as the gov­ern­ment steps up ef­forts to en­sure food suf­fi­ciency in the coun­try.

The rop­ing in of Bu­l­awayo Kraal comes a year af­ter the First Lady, Cde Grace Mu­gabe, spear­headed ef­forts to re­sus­ci­tate it af­ter it had been dor­mant since 2004.

“The ir­ri­ga­tion scheme in Binga has been iden­ti­fied for the com­mand agri­cul­ture pro­gramme that is ex­pected to go a long way in pro­mot­ing Zim-As­set. As the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry, we’ll pri­ori­tise this project in Mata­bele­land North. All the equip­ment that is re­quired for the project is ready. It’s a crit­i­cal project that will ben­e­fit all peo­ple in Mata­bele­land North,” said Min­is­ter Made soon af­ter tour­ing the Arda An­te­lope Es­tate at Maphisa Growth Point with Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and other se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials last Fri­day.

He said seed houses and fer­tiliser man­u­fac­tur­ers had as­sured Gov­ern­ment that they have the ca­pac­ity to meet the coun­try’s re­quire­ments to kick-start this vi­tal na­tional pro­gramme. “The fer­tiliser com­pa­nies said they are sit­ting on 100 000 tonnes of fer­tiliser which is suf­fi­cient to kick-start the pro­gramme,” said Min­is­ter Made.

Bu­l­awayo kraal has the po­ten­tial to be a mas­sive ir­ri­ga­tion scheme given the abun­dant wa­ter from Zam­bezi River. It can al­le­vi­ate hunger and poverty in Binga district and be­yond and crops to be cul­ti­vated un­der ir­ri­ga­tion in­clude sug­ar­cane, su­gar beans, maize, ba­nanas, wheat and soya beans.

Re­cently, VP Mnan­gagwa, who chairs the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Food Se­cu­rity and Nu­tri­tion, said Cab­i­net had tasked the Min­istries of Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment, Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment and En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Cli­mate to iden­tify farms, farm­ers and wa­ter bod­ies for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the com­mand agri­cul­ture ini­tia­tive.

He said gov­ern­ment was ne­go­ti­at­ing lines of credit with var­i­ous fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to fund the pro­gramme.

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