Mat South prepares for command agric
A TEAM of agricultural technocrats and senior Government officials in Matabeleland South province has started assessing irrigation infrastructure and water bodies as authorities in the area intensify efforts to roll out Command Agriculture.
At least 2,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the programme which is aimed at ensuring food selfsufficiency and ultimately end grain imports.
The programme’s Matabeleland South coordinating committee chairperson, Mr Judiya Ncube, yesterday said in an interview that they were visiting identified irrigation schemes and districts verifying information submitted by farmers interested in participating in Command Agriculture.
He said the province has a target to cover 2 500 hectares under the programme and the response from farmers was overwhelming.
“We’ve started visiting districts and identified irrigation schemes to verify the information and also assess the state of the infrastructure before we can roll out the programme.
“We’re also checking the availability of irrigation water in water bodies. We’ve covered a lot of ground and we’re very hopeful that the scheme will be a great success,” Mr Ncube said.
The Provincial Irrigation Officer, Engineer Shepard Mupotegwa, said they would have a list of all the projects and participating famers by the end of day on Friday.
“A lot of people are coming forward to register and it’s pleasing that all is going according to plan,” he said.
The Provincial Administrator, Mr Peter Moyo, said participating irrigation schemes include Arda Ingwizi in Mangwe district, Makwe, Mankonkoni and Rustlers Gorge in Gwanda district and Silalatshani in Insiza district.
He said they had registered River Ranch, Jalukanga and Bili in Beitbridge district, Moza in Bulimia district and Arda Maphisa in Matobo district.
“The programme will also incorporate A2 and A1 farmers. As we speak our District Administrators are busy mobilising farmers in their respective areas.
“We’re carrying out the scheme on voluntary basis. It’s also pleasing to note that most of the registered irrigation schemes have fully functional equipment and infrastructure,” said Mr Moyo.
“The Meteorological Services Department has also predicted that we will start receiving normal rains in October and we are happy that these will increase the volume of water in our dams.”
Mr Moyo said participating farmers would be required to commit five tonnes per hectare towards repayment of the loans (seeds, fertiliser and other implements) and retain the surplus.
The farmers are each mandated to produce at least 1 000 tonnes of maize.