National Wetlands Policy key in sustaining lives

By Tapiwa Machemedze

COMMUNITIES in Guruve and Mount Darwin have praised the National Wetlands Policy as a key measure in sustaining farmers’ livelihoods.

Located in Chihwaku Village in Guruve, the Nhamoyapera Community Gardening Project, which has been in existence since 1992, is one wetland farming venture which demonstrates the positive impact of environmental conservation.

Beneficiaries of the project hailed recognition and protection of wetlands through the national policy launch in February this year, highlighting how they have been empowered through wetlands.

“I gave birth to my first child in 1988, his name is Nathan and I put him to school through this gardening project. We have many women in this garden project and we sell our produce at Mudhindo which is nearby, Guruve and Raffingora,” said a gardener, Irene Mushawemhuka.

“I have grown old, but this wetland has been in existence since way back, it is an inheritance for our kids. We appreciate the move by the government to officially protect wetlands,” noted Kindon Manyika, Nhamoyapera Community Garden Project Chairman.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA), which is in the process of disseminating the policy document down to the grassroots, held meetings with government officials and residents of Guruve and Mount Darwin Districts.

“Following the gazetting of the National Wetlands Policy and its official launch by Vice President, General Retired Chiwenga, we are engaging stakeholders and unpacking the policy. We are saying these are the custodians of the policy and they should run with and mainstream it in their plans not just leave it to EMA. We are holding such awareness meetings throughout every district in the province and the country,” said Maxwell Mupotsa – EMA Provincial Environment and Publicity Officer

Government officials committed to working with communities right up to the village development committees to enforce the policy.

“As Guruve District, we welcome the National Wetlands Policy and we are happy it was unpacked. We will cascade it to the Ward Development Committees and Village Development Committees to ensure that the planning is environmentally sensitive, explained Guruve Assistant
District Development Coordinator Innocent Mutsvenguri.

For the Agritex Department, wetlands form an integral part of their work in terms of enhancing productivity and conservation.’

Zimbabwe undertook to protect its wetlands which cover 35 of the country’s lands area by acceding to the 2013 Ramsar Convention, which has culminated in the formulation of a National Policy Document.