Tugwi-Mukosi Masterplan approval a boon for drought-prone districts

…new industries set to complement nascent fishing sector

EnviroPress Reporter

The people of Chivi, Chiredzi and Mwenezi stand to derive the most benefits from developments that are soon to follow the approval of the Tugwi Mukosi Master Plan, EnviroPress can report.

The three neighbouring districts are the most arid in the country, and ordinary people there have very limited opportunities, and they suffer from droughts that are a perennial occurrence there.

Government, through the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa, recently announced that the masterplan for the dam, which was commissioned in May 2017, had finally been approved after several years of delay.

The huge lake, which can irrigate up to 40 000 hectares of land covers land in Chivi and Masvingo districts but if irrigation infrastructure is extended further downstream, Chiredzi and Mwenezi will reap enormous benefits.

Banga Irrigation Scheme Panganai Togara said he was glad that the masterplan envisages the expansion of the scheme in order to accommodate more farmers in Chivi.

“We have always had many people with a desire to join the scheme and make the most out of it, but it was not possible to accommodate everyone. I am pleased that more land will be made available to use and the irrigation infrastructure will be extended there,” he said.

Government has also committed to building new infrastructure stretching as further down as Chingwizi area in Ward 13 of Mwenezi district.

“We are working on the plans to harness water from Tugwi-Mukosi down to Chingwizi so that the people will no longer be beggars for food. This is part of government’s initiative to green-up this region and make it food secure,” said Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Davies Marapira.

An accomplished grain, beef and stock feed farmer himself, Marapira said Tugwi Mukosi would soon be supported by the envisaged Runde Tende Dam which he said will have 50 000ha of irrigation capacity.

Sugarcane district Chiredzi is seeing a surge in new agriculture land being opened, with farmers basking in the assurance that there will always be abundant water supplies for irrigation.

Under the masterplan, which seeks to regulate development around the lake, agro-processing firms will be opened with their supplies coming from farmers from all the districts.

Besides, a holiday business will be supported by a harbor, boating, game viewing and expanded fisheries.

“Noting that the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam and its environs present excellent opportunities for accelerated agricultural and irrigation development, Cabinet agreed that three new irrigation schemes measuring 3 852ha will be established, with the Banga Irrigation Scheme being expanded from 64ha to 195ha. Tugwi-Mukosi Dam alone has the potential to irrigate about 40 000ha of land in the country’s Lowveld,” Mutsvangwa said after a post-cabinet media briefing.

Mutsvangwa said an agency will soon be formed to coordinate and implement the developments that are expected.

“Amenities such as schools, health centres, business nodes, heritage sites, museums, hotels, lodges and training institutes will be developed over an area spanning two rural district councils and extending upstream and downstream of the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam. Other developments will incorporate harbours, holiday homes, golf courses, nature and game viewing.

“A recreation park and conservation areas will be developed, while a fish processing plant will be established near Tugwi-Mukosi. There will be a harbour and light house control tower, while a power generation plant on the dam will provide communities and businesses with clean energy and drive irrigation projects in support of household and national food security,” said Mutsvangwa.

This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates. www.southernafricatrust.org