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    Friday, 29 January 2016

    Minister gives Zinwa 2-weeks ultimatum

    Morris Bishi
    Chiredzi Bureau

    CHIREDZI – The Deputy Minister of Agriculture has given Zinwa a two-week ultimatum to replace pumps to the Chilonga Irrigation Scheme that has been dysfunctional for the last nine years thereby putting members out of production.
    He said Government procured new pumps several years ago but they have not been installed and a new tractor has been given to the scheme as Government was under the impression that the scheme was working.
    Speaking during a tour of Chilonga and Tshovani irrigation schemes last week, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Davis Marapira accused ZINWA officials of failing to carry out their duties.
    He said the Ministry was of the view that Chilonga Irrigation Scheme was functional and the truth only came out after the tour. He said if Zinwa did not have an engineer in Chiredzi to install the new pumps, the water authority should have hired another engineer from one of its regions.
    "As Government we work with technocrats who are on the ground and we always think that they are doing their work. If ZINWA was doing its work, Chilonga Irigation should have been working. New pumps came years back but engineers are yet to install them. We even deployed a new tractor and equipment here not knowing that the scheme is not functioning. These people should change their attitude if the country is to move forward. I give them two weeks to bring another engineer here and if they fail I will look for one from somewhere so that the problem is fixed" said Marapira.
    Marapira also expressed displeasure with the design of Tshovani Irrigation Scheme. The 360 hectare irrigation scheme has a triple water pumping system where water is pumped from Save River to a storage dam before it is then pumped to two other dams and then it is used. He said the system was expensive as all the pumping needs electricity and farmers will then pay heavy bills to ZESA.
    The MP for Chiredzi South Rtd General Kallisto Gwanetsa said the 159 hectares Chilonga irrigation scheme which was created in 1963 was critical for the survival of the Chilonga community. He said the scheme was dysfunctional since 2007 and thereby affecting 305 people who benefit from the scheme.
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