Government is pursuing plans to create an agricultural greenbelt in Mudzi District, in Mashonaland East Province, a move which is expected to improve people’s lives in addition to upgrading Nyamapanda to become a well-established border town, Business Times has learnt.
Government wants Nyamapanda to be used as a gateway to Mozambique and Malawi.
Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Aplonia Munzverengwi, said the government has identified about 5 000 hectares irrigable land for an irrigation scheme.
“We have embarked on a greenbelt irrigation programme in Mudzi along the Rwenya River where we identified 5000 hectares of irrigable land for a start. In the future, we have plans of establishing a citrus fruit project,” she said.
She added: “Our motive is to upgrade Nyamapanda to become a well-established border town. We want to establish a town just like Beitbridge, but we would want infrastructure that can support the development.
“We want to have a gateway to Malawi and Mozambique.
“Mashonaland East used to be the hub for horticulture and we hope if our Province is revived in agriculture, we will be able to contribute towards the national gross domestic product,” Munzverengwi said.
She said the establishment of a greenbelt along the Rwenya River would improve peoples’ livelihoods.
“Provincial teams have already carried out a feasibility study and established that 5 000 hectares can be developed along the river.
“I have tasked the physical planning department to look for investors,” Munzverengwi told Business Times.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has been pushing for creation of greenbelts as part of the ongoing thrust to use idle water bodies to grow food under irrigation to reduce the food import bill which is squeezing government funds.
Munzverengwi also said more needed to be done to promote tourism in the province.
“In Mashonaland East, there’s little to talk about in terms of tourism. We want to come up with a tourism corridor. We want to promote religious tourism through the designation of sites like Mutemwa and Bernard Mzeki shrines where thousands of people gather every year. They could be designated as religious tourist attraction sites.
“We also have Tsindi Ruins and some deep falls that were identified in Hwedza.”
She also said there were plans to upgrade Nyatana conservancy in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe.
“We need to establish a big hotel in the province, so that we can be able to host conferences,” Munzverengwi said.