NGOs abandon irrigation plans

irrigation_channelCHIMANIMANI - Interference in the operation of irrigation schemes by Zanu (PF) in has forced many Non Governmental Organization (NGO)s here to withdraw their support for local villagers. (PIctured: An irrigation channel that enables locals to be self-sufficient)

A number of NGOs such as Plan Zimbabwe have been supporting irrigation nitiatives in the province, but Zanu (PF) politicians have been accused by villagers of trying to hijack such projects for their benefit of their supporters. A survey carried out by this paper revealed that a number of irrigation schemes such as Chisawanye in Chipinge, Tonhorai in Chimanimani which used to be a source of livelihood for many villagers, are operating at low capacity due to poor management and interference by politicians. Villagers are now forced to rely on food aid from NGOs such as Care International and World Vision.

We used to be self reliant from the use of the irrigation, schemes but things have turned upside down because of continuous interference by these Zanu (PF) politicians who want to gain political mileage for nothing,said Maxwell Mutambara of Nedziwa in Cashel Valley.

Villagers in Chimanimani accused Zanu (PF) politburo member Munacho Mutezo and National Women`s League member Jaine Knight of disturbing the operations of irrigation schemes in the areas. They said they were forcing people to buy Zanu (PF) cards in order to secure space in the irrigation schemes.

Only Zanu PF supporters are benefiting from the irrigation schemes so donors have pulled out and people are suffering, said Muchanyara Mawoyo, a local villager. Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of the Chiduku-Chingowe irrigation scheme with the help of a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Small to Medium Development Sustenance Projects International (SMDSPI) is set to improve the lives of over 80 families.

The upgrading of 44 hectare irrigation scheme is at an advanced stage of infrastructural development courtesy of SMDSPI.

Each household will be allocated 0, 5 hectares under overhead irrigation. The programme is earmarked for disadvantaged communal farmers to boost their yields and improve food security, said Engineer Chimunhu from Department of Irrigation. The project would ensure food security and bring sustainable development for the beneficiaries and local community.

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