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Zimbabwe’s Strong Ambitious Plan: 50,000 Hectares of Irrigation for Schools, Villages, and Youth Centres

50,000 Hectares of Irrigation for Schools, Villages, and Youth Centres

Zimbabwe’s Ambitious Plan: 50,000 Hectares of Irrigation for Schools, Villages, and Youth Centres


Key Takeaways:

  • Zimbabwe government initiates ambitious plan to allocate 50,000 hectares for irrigation across schools, villages, and youth centres to enhance food security and resilience.
  • Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development plan aims to harness existing infrastructure and construct water reservoirs to bolster consistent crop, fisheries, and livestock production.
  • Government spearheads efforts to modernize agriculture sector, with focus on completing irrigation projects, constructing high-impact dams, and transitioning smallholder irrigation schemes to commercialize and enhance productivity.

As Zimbabwe grapples with the ongoing challenges posed by climate change, the government has unveiled an ambitious initiative aimed at bolstering food security and resilience.

With a targeted allocation of 50,000 hectares for irrigation, spanning schools, villages, and youth centres, the initiative seeks to mitigate the impacts of erratic weather patterns and ensure sustained agricultural production.

Under the Government’s Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development plan (AIRD), communities across the country’s 35,000 villages, 9,600 schools, and 4,800 youth centres will benefit from enhanced irrigation infrastructure.

This strategic intervention underscores the government’s commitment to promoting self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

In a recent statement, Professor Dr. Obert Jiri, Permanent Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, emphasized the urgency of accelerating irrigation rehabilitation and development efforts.

Highlighting the need to harness existing underground irrigation infrastructure and invest in the construction of water reservoirs, such as dams and weirs, Dr. Jiri underscored the critical role of irrigation in ensuring consistent crop, fisheries, and livestock production.

The government’s AIRD plan, launched in 2021, adopts a holistic approach to irrigation development, integrating multiple sectors such as agriculture, water supply, fisheries, and electricity.

By prioritizing the completion of irrigation projects, particularly in arid regions, Zimbabwe aims to expand its irrigated area from 173,500 hectares in 2020 to 350,000 hectares by 2025, doubling its capacity to withstand climate variability.

In tandem with irrigation expansion, the government is spearheading the construction of 12 high-impact dams, signaling a shift towards modernizing the agriculture sector and embracing climate-smart practices.

These initiatives align with broader objectives to enhance agricultural productivity, promote sustainable livelihoods, and foster economic growth in rural communities.

Recognizing the multifaceted benefits of irrigation, efforts are underway to commercialize smallholder irrigation schemes, with over 300 schemes covering 19,000 hectares already transitioned by December 2022.

This transition not only enhances productivity but also creates opportunities for job creation, wealth generation, and poverty alleviation, particularly among vulnerable farming communities.

Amidst escalating water-related disasters exacerbated by climate change, the development of viable small-scale irrigation systems emerges as a lifeline for farmers, offering resilience against droughts and mid-season dry spells.

By empowering farmers to cultivate crops year-round and intensify production, irrigation serves as a catalyst for sustainable development, driving progress towards food security and poverty eradication.

As Zimbabwe navigates the complex challenges posed by climate change, the government’s commitment to irrigation expansion stands as a beacon of hope, offering a pathway towards a more resilient and prosperous future for its citizens.

Through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, Zimbabwe aims to harness the transformative potential of irrigation to build thriving, resilient communities and safeguard livelihoods for generations to come.


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