The Sunday News
Tichafara Bepe, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government is expecting to complete putting irrigation infrastructure at 2 500 hectares of land by the end of this year as it strives to promote agriculture in the country.
The 2 500 ha, will be about 30 percent of the 8 000 ha, the Government last year contracted to private contractors to build irrigation infrastructure. The irrigation projects are being constructed under the 200 hectare per district irrigation development project which began in January last year.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro said no project has been completed so far but hopes were that they would be done by end of this year.
“It is hoped that a third of the contracted projects will be completed with the current budget allocation this year,” he said.
Foreign currency shortages, he added, was also a major factor contributing to slow progress. The main scope of the work being carried out under the programme includes conducting feasibility studies and detailed designs, provision of irrigation pumping systems, construction of conveyance canals and pipes from the water sources to the fields.
The programme also includes the procurement and installation of infield irrigation equipment such as centre pivots as well as monitoring and evaluation during the construction and operation of the irrigation schemes.
Deputy Minister Karoro said nine centre pivots had been installed to date under the irrigation development programme.
“Nine centre pivots covering 197 hectares have been installed. Six of the centre pivots were installed in Mashonaland Central, one in Matabeleland North and two in Manicaland,” he said.
Besides the 200 hectares per district irrigation development programme, the Government is also involved in other irrigation development initiatives along with development partners, Deputy Minister Karoro said.
Among those projects is the 2 500 hectare irrigation construction in Beitbridge District which is being financed by the Kuwait Fund and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The irrigation scheme will draw water from the Zhove Dam. The Government is also assisting A2 farmers with the installation of 80 centre pivots covering 2 900 hectares of land.