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More than 350 000 hectares of maize to be irrigated

More than 350 000 hectares of maize to be irrigated

Story by Aifheli Mudau

GOVERNMENT is targeting to irrigate more than 350 000 hectares of maize to fight hunger, with the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Antelope irrigation scheme in Maphisa district a shining example.

The ARDA Antelope Irrigation Scheme is among a raft of measures initiated by government to mitigate the effects of climate change across the country.

The scheme has 200 hectares under maize this season.

“This year we managed to work on 200 hectares. Siltation is a new challenge that needs addressing for us to increase our hectarage,” said Maphisa ARDA Antelope partner, Mr Dean Leroux.

Promising to tackle the problem of siltation at Maphisa Antelope dam caused by illegal mining activities upstream, the government confirmed that the immediate target is irrigating 350 000 hectares nationwide which will go up to 500 000 in the long term.

“As government, we have the potential to irrigate more than 500 000 hectares, but for now we will concentrate on 350 000 hectares. Our enemy today is siltation and we have to address it to be food secure,” said the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Davis Marapira.

Irrigation is proving to be a lifeline for the country’s agricultural sector that has been hit by the El-Nino-induced drought this summer cropping season.

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