Friday 28 June 2024


Zanu PF legislator for Chiredzi West Darlington Chiwa said the Government was not serious when it comes to supporting sugarcane farming despite that it was recently declared a strategic crop. The lack of seriousness, Chiwa said, resulted in communities in Masvingo province starving, notwithstanding that there are too many dams full to capacity not being utilized.

Addressing journalists at a cocktail organized by Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe (THZ) at Triangle Country Club recently, Chiwa said there were many dams in the Lowveld but communities were starving because there was no serious government support.

“We have drought but our dams are full. Our dams are full yet we have communities around starving. What is the challenge? We have sugarcane as a strategic crop but it remains a political statement. This is where the country should be looking at this time; the land is there and the dams are full but we don’t have serious government support.

“Even when we look at the budget itself you can’t be budgeting for tobacco when drought is threatening and when we know most of it will not be irrigated. This is the time that we should be actually budgeting towards an area where water security is certain like this particular area. I know I will be on front page tomorrow but I have to say it,” said Chiwa.

He said Chiredzi had the capacity to feed all the starving communities if it was getting serious government support.

“We are facing a drought situation as a nation, but because of the challenges that we have down here; it is the time that maybe we were going to be the Biblical Egypt where the reserve of the nation could be found because of the water security that we have,” he said.

Chiwa said their expectation as an industry was that since government had taken a stance to declare sugarcane a strategic crop, they expected further interventions to be pronounced in terms of policy so that once it becomes a strategic crop, it is treated the same like other strategic crops.

When asked by TellZim at a side interview about how he wanted government to assist considering that THZ is a private company which makes it difficult to be included in the national budget, Chiwa said the situation was now different because there were more out grower sugarcane farmers in the Lowveld.

“It is possible to be part of the national budget because we now have more individual sugarcane farmers – so it’s no longer Tongaat alone. These farmers need support the same way tobacco farmers are being supported,” said Chiwa.

Masvingo province has the largest inland dams in the country but there are few irrigation schemes and most of the water is not utilized.

Tugwi – Mukosi dam was completed about five years ago but has been lying idle despite that it has a potential to irrigate over 20 000 hectares. It’s pathetic that people around the dam are starving yet the situation could have been different if government had established irrigation schemes at Tokwe Mukosi dam.

Currently the water from Tokwe Mukosi dam is only being used by THZ, and the company indicated that the dam had enough water for irrigation at least for the next five years.

Other water bodies like Muzhwi, Bangala, Manjirenji and Mutirikwi are lying idle with the water only being used for domestic purposes.TellZimNews


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