Beitbridge seeks partners for irrigation schemes rehab


Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
BEITBRIDGE Rural District Council (BBRDC) is seeking partners to rehabilitate major irrigation schemes in the district.

Despite being located near Umzingwane and Limpopo Rivers respectively, the irrigation schemes which form the source of livelihoods for 40 percent of the 100 000 rural population in the district, are facing acute water shortages.

Many plot holders are failing to raise funds to repair broken down pumps or to electrify their projects.

Some of the major projects seeking partners include Bili, River Ranch, Kwalu, Jalukanga, Tongwe, Chamaswiswi, Tshikwalakwala and Shashe among others.

BBRDC chief executive officer, Mr Peter Moyo, said through the community initiatives and strategic partnerships with other players, the 120-hectare Shashe project was now a model irrigation scheme for Beitbridge district.

Mr Moyo said the project was now professionally managed and had become one of the major suppliers of citrus to the Beitbridge Juice Plant.

He said an organisation called Cesvi had shown interest in partnering to repair River Ranch and Kwalu irrigation schemes.

Mr Moyo said the non-governmental organisation was interested in citrus, maize and wheat production.

“Cesvi is already on the ground working on a strategy to rehabilitate River Ranch and the 120-hectare Kwalu irrigation scheme,”said Mr Moyo.

“They are looking at introducing citrus production, wheat and maize. You will note that we lie in agricultural natural region 5 where crop husbandry is a challenge outside irrigation farming.

“River Ranch has a great potential to turn the fortunes of people in ward 6 because of its close proximity to the Beitbridge town market. We also need assistance in revamping 65-hectare Tshikwalakwala irrigation scheme which lying idle. These projects can make a huge difference for members of the community considering that we have the Beitbridge juice plant which is willing to buy oranges in bulk.”

He said more partnerships are needed. Mr Moyo said floods destroyed key infrastructure including fences and canals at most irrigation schemes.

He said it was also important to capacitate communities with modern projects planning and management.

“We need a strong capacity building programme that will see many members of the community benefiting from diversified farming. They need to run these projects as business entities for them to rip maximum benefits,” said Mr Moyo.