The Sunday News
Nokukhanya Moyo, Sunday News Reporter
THE Department of Irrigation has this year rehabilitated 14 irrigation schemes in Matabeleland North with the help of developmental partners.
Matabeleland North irrigation engineer Benjamin Mangwiro said the irrigation schemes were rehabilitated with the help of Catholic Agencies for Overseas Development (Cafod)-Environment Africa, and CAIRITAS and More Food for Africa.
He said five irrigation schemes were rehabilitated in Hwange and they include Makwa and Cheziya which have been connected to solar power to pump water.
Other irrigation schemes in the district that got a facelift include Lambo where canals were repaired, Lukosi where gate valves were repaired, Chantali where brick reservoirs were built, and also pipelines connected from the dam to the reservoir.
Eng Mangwiro also said four irrigation schemes were rehabilitated in Binga, three in Bubi, one each in Nkayi and Umguza.
“We have introduced climate smart irrigation schemes, where we have replaced electricity pumping units with solar power pumping units because some irrigation schemes were no longer functioning because of the electricity shortages but at least solar uses natural energy which cannot stop the functioning of irrigation,” he said.
Eng Mangwiro said one of the objectives of the programme was to increase the area under irrigation from 150 000 hectares to 220 000 hectares by 2018.
“We want to also move to modern schemes application of technologies, more food programmes and also centre pivots,” he said.
Eng Mangwiro said irrigation can boost agriculture in the province which is generally dry and receives below normal rainfall annually.