Government commended for resuscitating the Portborry irrigation scheme

By Providence Maraneli

THE resuscitation of Portborry Irrigation Scheme in Umzingwane has transformed people’s lives and awakened the area’s potential to be an agricultural hub in Matabeleland South province.

If there is one thing that the people of Matabeleland South have learnt from the just ended summer cropping season is that rain-fed agriculture is no longer reliable as it used to be due to effects of climate change.

The government has since come to their rescue after resuscitating irrigation schemes in the area including Portborry in Umzingwane’s Ward 20.

“We thank the government for helping us with everything, the inputs and the resuscitation of this scheme. Last year we were starting and we sold 6000 cabbages, we also got 6 tonnes of grain after we had sold green mealies. Now we have 40 000 heads of cabbages and we got seeds for winter wheat,” said one farmer.

“Since the resuscitation of this scheme it has created employment for our people. We are looking to set up an agro-village,” said the scheme beneficiary.

The local leadership is convinced that the path to development starts with a food secure community.

“Our people didn’t get anything from the summer cropping season and with this irrigation scheme it is not only going to help those in the scheme but the community at large,” said Mano Ndlovu Village head.

“This will help this area, the government won’t import food from other countries and the money will be used for other developmental projects,” said Silibaziso Nkala Ward 20 Councillor.

With government on a massive rural industrialisation drive, the resuscitation of the once defunct irrigation schemes is set to help fight hunger and create employment.

“The government has made a deliberate policy that every district should have at least 300 hectares of irrigation and I been making a lot of noise in parliament and this is a major stride and we think that if all our schemes can be resuscitated, it will make a huge difference and address the challenges of food insecurity in our region. We have lots of water and land,” said Brigadier General (RTD) Levy Mayihlome Umzingwane legislator.

The thirty-five-hectare community irrigation scheme has set aside 20 hectares for the winter wheat crop, while 40 thousand heads of cabbages are ready for the market, with the other piece of land being prepared for the maize crop.