Bulawayo Kraal to be part of command agriculture scheme
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.