SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE
Villagers in Marange district in Manicaland Province are basking in glory following the success of their fishery and irrigation project, Business Times can report.
At least 300 families are beneficiaries of the project where they are keeping tilapia fish. They are also growing beans among other crops on a 5-hectare piece of land under irrigation.
Lovemore Mkwada, who is the chairperson of Bocha Diamond Community Development Trust, told the Business Times the project has proven to be a lifesaver and a departure from depending on food handouts from diamond mining companies in the area.
“Since we began this fish project we have seen that we can go a long way in alleviating poverty and the dependency syndrome that was slowly but surely creeping into our people,” Mkwada said.
“We have more than 60 000 fish, tilapia type in our dams and that is good for our community which lost land to diamond mining companies but we are doing something to move on as a people.”
Mkwada thanked diamond miner, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company for clearing their land.
“We are grateful they cleared our land and did the tilling and now are in a better place than continuing to groan and moan over what happened to us as a people,’’ Mkwada said.
He said their appeal is for the diamond firms to be their market offering competitive prices from both their beans and fish so they grow bigger as a business community.
Rufaro Mawadza from Mkwada village said the project has weaned most households from poverty and relying on food handouts that come not so often.
“I pray that after harvesting the beans we get a single buyer who will pay in cash and we are assured of leap frogging to success and a better tomorrow.
“Our call to ZCDC is to support us further on such key projects so we do not look up to them for some hand outs as has been the case, we will be self-sufficient for good,” Mawadza said.
Another villager from Chiadzwa, Pamela Muchemwa applauded their projects and said it would boost nutrition among the locals.
“I foresee a case of a balanced diet for our people and not many can afford beef, chicken and pork, and with our fish and irrigation projects we will have a balanced diet. We will be able to grow a variety of crops all year round from the water from our dams,” Muchemwa said.
Batsirai Betera of Zimbabwe Farmers Union for Mutare district said there is need for expansion of the irrigation project and variety in the crops under irrigation.
“The area under irrigation has to be increased to cater for a greater number of people or households so that we don’t have some people feeling being left out, and as ZFU we are there to assist with getting the market for their produce at competitive rates,” Betera said.