By Owen Mandovha
GOVERNMENT has set a target to put 350 000 hectares of land under irrigation to offset the adverse effects of climate change and ensure food security in the country.
Climate smart agriculture has been identified as the foundation for national food security, given the threats posed by erratic rainfall patterns triggered by climate change.
An Irrigation Stakeholders Indaba held in Harare this Friday saw the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr John Basera outlining government’s plan to increase irrigable land.
“Government’s role is to mobilise private sector and work with companies to collaborate with farmers to develop irrigation infrastructure on their farms. We have the AFC facility under Pedstock investment which we have mandated to develop irrigation infrastructure as well as the CBZ agro yield by Maka Irrigation to put 80 000 hectares of land under irrigation. Overally government has a set a target of 350 000 hectares,” he said.
Dr Basera also rallied private investors to seize opportunities being provided in irrigation infrastructure development which requires long term capital.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) which governs the country’s water bodies, has encouraged farmers to settle levies and charges for water provision at farms to ensure the sustenance of irrigation programmes.