Opec to fund ir­ri­ga­tion re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Busi­ness Re­porter

THE Govern­ment is ne­go­ti­at­ing a $20 mil­lion pack­age for dam con­struc­tion with the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries (Opec).

The fund­ing is ex­pected to fi­nance de­vel­op­ment of wa­ter bod­ies to sup­port the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and ex­pan­sion of ir­ri­ga­tion schemes in the coun­try.

Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa said this while re­spond­ing to ques­tions in Par­lia­ment last week.

“As a re­sult of this re­la­tion­ship I want to say that with Opec we are go­ing to be sign­ing a $20m loan fund to­wards ir­ri­ga­tion to sup­port re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and ex­pan­sion of ir­ri­ga­tion schemes.

“Ev­ery step we take is very im­por­tant and we must build on the suc­cess of what­ever we un­der­take to do,” he said.

Presently, the min­is­ter said, the wa­ter sit­u­a­tion was bad through­out the coun­try whether in wet ar­eas or orig­i­nally semi-arid ar­eas.

“Ob­vi­ously, we need to re­spond to that prob­lem by build­ing more stor­age dams as well by ba­si­cally try­ing to con­serve wa­ter and also try to re­spect en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions,” he said.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said some of the rivers have dried up be­cause they were heav­ily silted.

“Once they are silted, they do not keep wa­ter. All the wa­ter runs away. Th­ese are is­sues that as we go for­ward, we should try to ad­dress.”

Cli­mate change ex­perts have sug­gested ir­ri­ga­tion as the panacea to drought due to er­ratic rain­fall pat­terns be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in Sub Sa­ha­ran Africa.

And due to the ad­verse ef­fects of cli­mate change, food pro­duc­tion has been pre­dicted to de­cline by 50 per­cent by 2050.

In the 2016 na­tional bud­get, Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa noted that the chal­lenges re­lated to un­pre­dictable rain­fall pat­terns due to cli­mate change de­mand that the coun­try in­vests in ir­ri­ga­tion de­vel­op­ment as well as max­imis­ing on use of ex­ist­ing ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

Against this back­ground, he said in the medium term, the Govern­ment was im­ple­ment­ing the Cli­mate Re­silient Na­tional Wa­ter Re­sources and Ir­ri­ga­tion Mas­ter Plan, with the ob­jec­tive of in-depth in­te­gra­tion of cli­mate change mod­el­ling with de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment of wa­ter re­sources and ir­ri­ga­tion in­fra­struc­ture.

He said the ob­jec­tive of the Govern­ment in­ter­ven­tions was to en­sure that the cur­rent to­tal 220 000 hectares of in­stalled ir­ri­ga­tion ca­pac­ity is func­tional.

And in pur­suance of the above tar­get, a to­tal of $2.6 mil­lion was availed in 2015 to­wards com­ple­tion of 13 ir­ri­ga­tion schemes cov­er­ing about 635 hectares.

Pa­trick Chi­na­masa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.