The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Government has said the formulation of the National Soil and Water Conservation Policy will go a long way in mitigating the effects of climate change.
Consultations for the policy that will guide the protection of water bodies and the natural resource base in the country are at an advanced stage. In an interview, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, chief director in the Department of Engineering, Mechanisation and Soil Conservation, Engineer Edwin Zimhunga said soil management practices and decisions were crucial. He said the policy which was expected to be completed towards year end or early next year, was key in ensuring the promotion of proper land use on each and every piece of land throughout the country.
“The National Soil and Water Conservation Policy that is coming up will make sure that we look at all the soil management practices and decisions that we make at country level critically. This will allow us to try and minimise and eliminate the significant soil degradation and soil erosion that we have been seeing in the country. It will allow us to come up with ways on how we can restore the degraded land, while also overcoming obstacles on the adoption of sustainable soil management associated with our land tenure as a country.”
Eng Zimhunga said the consultations of the policy which started last year in November, will be ongoing throughout the year.
“We did the preliminary consultations, the expert interviews and we continue now to jager expert advice and opinion in terms of the structure and the tenets of the policy before we take it up and table it for legal drafting as well as consideration by the stakeholders. We want to ensure that everything is clear so that when we come up with the zero draft policy it can then go through the normal channels of policy drafting process, taken to various Government and legal departments prior rectifying the policy at Cabinet as well as at legislative level.”
He said the issue of trying to manage soil siltation in water bodies was key for the protection of catchment areas across the country.
Eng Zimhunga said at each particular catchment area there was a need to address issues of soil degradation and erosion.
“We saw in the previous budget that has been allocated to the department that more than ZW$3 billion was allocated just for soil conservation practice within the eight catchment areas of Zimbabwe. Some of them include the Manyame, Save, Runde and Sanyati that are under the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa)water catchment areas.
“We have seen a lot of degradation in these areas, hence as part of our message and programming we need to climate proof our water bodies to have enough water to do agricultural activities,” said Eng Zimhunga.
He said as various soils policies were being implemented at global level, as a country there was a need to domesticate the policies in relation to the country’s own specific issues.
As a way of implementing soil management and soil conservation practice technologies, Eng Zimhunga said at each and every irrigation scheme designs were being developed in that regard.