Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has launched the National Desilting Programme in Musengezi, Chegutu District in Mashonaland West Province.
Desilting seeks to increase the holding capacity of dams across the country, which are now filled with silt due to stream bank cultivation, gold panning and other poor farming methods.
“Our programmes are after a realisation that we have experienced successive droughts but as a country we are endowed with many water bodies that can be used for irrigation so that we have summer and winter cropping.”
VP Mnangagwa said those near dams and other water bodies who failed to utilise the water for agriculture would have to make way for those who can.
“We have agreed as Government that all those near dams should be supported with irrigation infrastructure but if one does not want to use the water to produce then they have to move and stay away from water bodies to make way for those who can,”
The programmes, he said, would be supported with equipment including tractors and irrigation infrastructure sourced from Brazil, Belarus, Russia and China.
At least 3 000 small, medium and large dams are set to undergo desilting.
Mashonaland West province will have around 120 dams undergo desilting to increase their capacity, while the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development will provide irrigation equipment and technical support.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the desilting programme would help communities generate income as they would sell the sand, start irrigation and fishery projects.
“The programme is good in that it will also give communities an opportunity to make money to assist their irrigation projects with fencing and other things they need,”
She said desilting of dams would breathe life into struggling irrigation schemes and help mitigate the effects of drought.
Dongaronga Dam dam supports Rudaviro Irrigation Scheme in Musengezi is undergoing desiltation as water levels had gone down.
Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire welcomed the desiltation programme as key in mitigating hunger in the province and expressed the province’s readiness to support it.
Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture and Heritage Minister Cde Abedinico Ncube, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Cde Tapiwa Matangaidze, permanent secretary in the President’s Office responsible for DDF Mr James Jonga, Environment, Water and Climate permanent secretary Mr Prince Mupazviriho among others attended the launch.