Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Govt urged to revive Chilonga irrigation

Govt urged to revive Chilonga irrigation


The Herald

Tawanda Mangoma   in Chiredzi

Villagers in Chiredzi South have appealed to Government to revive the 350-hectare Chilonga Irrigation Scheme urgently to boost household food security in the arid area.

The scheme collapsed about 12 years ago due to a malfunctioning water pumping system and a river changing its course leaving villagers in Chilonga exposed to recurrent droughts while also hitting hard their pockets as they relied on selling horticultural produce from the scheme.

There were hopes that the Chilonga scheme was on the verge of revival two years ago after Government availed new submissive pumps, which were supposed to be installed along the perennial Runde River by Zinwa.

Villagers and plot holders at the scheme are now up in arms with Zinwa over its failure to install the pumps and revive the scheme.

Chilonga Irrigation Scheme secretary Mr Tiyani Chilonga said failure by Zinwa to quickly redesign the pumping system was now costing plotholders.

He urged Government to second a team of engineers to speed up the rehabilitation of the scheme.

“We have clocked 12 years now with our irrigation scheme at Chilonga not functioning. Water is just flowing to the Indian Ocean while the community is suffering due to drought caused by climate change.”

Mr Chilonga said the scheme received modern irrigation equipment two years ago, but nothing was yet to take off the ground.

“The most disheartening thing is that Government and some partners from SADC availed three new submissive pumps. We also received tractors from the Brazilian Food Africa scheme, but all this equipment is lying idle because Zinwa is yet to install new pumps after carrying the requisite new modifications.”

“Due to desperation the community even offered free labour to complement the teams from Zinwa, but our efforts yielded nothing. We want Government to second other engineers if Zinwa is busy because we want to revive the once thriving horticultural business here at Chilonga,” said Mr Chilonga.

Chiredzi South outgoing Member of Parliament Cde Kallisto Gwanetsa weighed in saying the irrigation scheme was of great importance to people of Sengwe in Chikombedzi.

“Chilonga Irrigation Scheme surely requires a shift in approach from all stakeholders who are required in the process of modifying the method of irrigation to use the new submissive pumps that were availed two years ago,” he said.

“The community has suffered enough and the scheme has the capacity to transform the lives of locals.

“This is one of the most important tasks we have and we will surely make it because the community here is willing to play a part.”

Efforts to contact Zinwa were fruitless, but when The Herald visited the scheme recently new irrigation equipment such as tractors, ploughs and other implements could be seen lying idle.


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