SILOBELA – ZANU-PF MP for Silobela Constituency Mtokozisi Manoki Mpofu has appealed to Government and development partners for food aid as people in his area could soon be starving due to the 2021/22 drought.
Mpofu made the appeal recently during the commissioning of an irrigation scheme in Chief Gwesela’s area in Kwekwe.
“My constituency is facing an acute shortage of food because of the severe dry spell experienced towards the end of the 2021/22 rain season. The problem is also compounded by the fact that Silobela suffered droughts for the past three successive seasons.
“We are also facing water challenges as reservoirs and boreholes are fast drying up and these two challenges are severely threatening lives in the area. We however, hope that this irrigation scheme will go a long way in improving food security,” he said.
A villager from the area, Albert Zvarimwa said most boreholes have dried up forcing villagers to draw water from unprotected sources.
“Most boreholes have dried up and they are pumping out air. We have been experiencing this challenge for more than five years and we are exposed to waterborne infections since we are using water from unprotected sources like rivers,” said Zvarimwa.
The irrigation scheme was co-financed by Government with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), OPEC and Fund for International Development (OFID) at a cost of US$944, 215.It is going to benefit more than 500 farmers involved in horticultural production and growing other crops under irrigation.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme (SIRP) national project coordinator Odreck Mukorera said Government and development partners have injected at least US$51 million towards the SIRP with the aim to eradicate hunger and vulnerability.
“At least US$52 ,68 million is expected to have been disbursed for the programme.
“Our objective is to have at least 60 irrigation schemes before year end to cover the targeted 16 000 hectares of irrigated land in four provinces which are Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Matebeleland South.
“About 27 500 farmers are expected to benefit from the programme as we fight the effects of climate change which has adversely affected crop production in the country through drought,” he said.