By Anyway Yotamu
Government has rolled out a massive irrigation programme targeting 100 thousand hectares which will be turned into green belts of maize and other strategic crops under the smart agriculture concept.
The Command Agriculture programme has moved a gear up, with several farmers who have reliable sources of water being targeted under the new strategic smart agriculture initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural resettlement.
Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural resettlement, Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri said this is part of climate change mitigation measures that the government is embarking on.
“We have dedicated resources to deal with climate change. The first step is to invest in irrigation so under command irrigation we will target 100 thousand hectares. 80 hectare for commercial farmers and 20 thousand for small irrigation projects in communal lands. Am happy to say we have managed to contract a local company Maka to start the manufacturing of irrigation equipment; so more focus will be directed to irrigation revival,” said the minister.
A visit to the company mandated to manufacture the irrigation equipment showed that imported materials have started arriving while engineers are busy assembling centre pivots for distribution to targeted farmers.
“Yes we have been contracted by the government and as you can see we have started the job. With all things being equal we want to produce 75 centre pivots per months for the government programme,” said Innocent Sibanda, the Chief Executive Officer for MAKA Irrigation.
Under the first command irrigation development programme, 80 generators and 80 centre pivots covering 3 200 hectares were installed.
10 centre pivots have been received and are currently being installed during the second phase.