Chivi villagers set to benefit from wetland

Hazvinei Mwanaka

Hundreds of villagers in Ward 10 of Chivi are set to benefit from Govaguru wetland through agricultural activities, grazing and as a source of water. The area perennially suffers prolonged dry spells.

Speaking during a media tour at Govaguru wetland to commemorate 2023 World Wetland Day, vice-chairperson for Govaguru, David Marufu, said so far, more than 300 cattle from 10 wards were drinking water in the wetland.

“The wetland has become a relief to most of us. The wetland has been there since our childhood and it was once fenced, but later cattle destroyed the area and it also became a playing ground for children,” he said.

“We later met our Agritex officer, who introduced our project to the Environmental Management Agency and they assisted us in developing the area. We are just appealing for irrigation equipment to ease our work, especially for old people in the village.”

EMA district environmental officer Natsai Chimhiti said there are a lot of projects which villagers can benefit from the wetland.

“A lot of projects can be generated from the wetland. Water is already there. There will be bee keeping projects, aquaculture, market gardening as well as agro-forestry. Also, families will benefit from selling their produce as well as maintaining their diet,” she said.

Agritex officer Julius Vhomo said the project started in 2013 after campaigns to resuscitate wetlands.

“We want villagers to do horticulture from the water that is already available. We are appealing to EMA to also help us with a tank so that we can pump water for irrigation,” he added.

Villagers were also getting water for domestic use from the wetland.

The area’s assistant district administrator Kennedy Manikwa urged the people of Chivi to preserve the wetland because it will be able to sustain their livelihoods.

According to EMA Masvingo provincial manager Milton Muusha, the area has 156 wetlands and out of these, only 40 are protected.