ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwean A2 farmers in Insiza District, South-West of the country have partnered with South Africa based investor, Louis Leroux, to establish an 800 hectare irrigation project at an estimated cost of about R20 million (US$1.15m).

The project seeks to revive Further Stone Irrigation, which has been lying idle for over the past 10 years, in a bid to improve food supply in the country and create employment for the local community.

This was revealed by Insiza District Development Coordinator, Mr Zacharia Jusah, who stated that the target for this year under the project is to plant 66 hectares.

“So far, 50 locals have been employed under the project to build various structures that are needed on sight. This project will go a long way in ensuring availability of food at local markets. It will also create employment for many people,” he said.

Reports by the Herald have indicated that, once preparation of the 66 hectares of land is completed, part of the land will be earmarked for livestock fodder production towards export while the remaining will be earmarked for maize production.

Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest 1, 060, 142 tonnes of grain during the 2019/20 summer cropping season according to the second crop and livestock assessment report by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement.

From the total grain production, farmers are expected to harvest about 907, 628 tonnes of maize reflecting a 17% rise.

Communal farmers are expected to produce 291, 867 tonnes of maize, A2 farmers who are classified as medium-scale commercial farmers, are expected to produce 275, 315 tonnes, A1(small holder) farmers 219, 005 tonnes, old resettlement 88, 354 tonnes, the small scale sector 27, 235 tonnes and peri-urban farmers 5, 768 tonnes.

Mr Jusah revealed that in the long run a milling plant will be established near the irrigation to ensure that milling was done on sight.

“This is an important project as it falls under Vision 2030, which seeks to ensure food security and job creation. Farmers have been encouraged to identify land that is lying idle and engage investors so that this land is developed to ensure food security and job creation,” he said.

“This is what these five farmers have done under this project. They have identified land, which is lying idle in their areas and are now working on developing it. We want to see more investment in strategic areas such as food security and export,” he concluded.

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