Ultimatum for Bubi-Lupane farmers

CHENGETAI MURIMWA IN BULAWAYO

Government has given plot holders at Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme, in Matabeleland North, up to this Saturday to utilise their plots which

have been lying idle or risk losing them as the administration moves to stamp its authority in the sector, Business Times can report.

Land, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Anxious Masuka, who toured the scheme last week, appeared not happy with the

non-performance of the scheme, despite the good rains the country has been receiving.

Masuka targeted three plots, where no farming activities were taking place.

The move to repossess the land is part of government’s efforts to ensure that all land is put to full production.

 “I want these three plots to be planted within seven days and nothing less. I will be back here on January 23 to monitor progress and

therefore all the proceedings of today’s meeting are deferred to that date without alterations” Masuka said.

The 180-hectare Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme was established in 2019.

Initially, 90 beneficiaries were allocated two hectares of land for farming purposes.

A visibly angry Masuka demanded that action must be taken for the scheme to benefit from the good rains that the whole country is receiving now.

Matabeleland North usually does not receive good rains.  Now, Masuka said beneficiaries should take advantage of this.

“It is uncalled for, for the scheme to miss this year’s good rain season without any planting taking place; hence the departments

involved should see it to it that they move swiftly. We cannot come here to commission the centre pivots only. I want to come here and commission the crop,” Masuka said.

Masuka wants to see Zimbabwe re-gaining its breadbasket of Africa status.

He directed Agribank and Grain Marketing Board to immediately avail machinery and seed respectively to the irrigation scheme.

He also said the Bubi-Lupane scheme was no longer a community blocked system but has now transformed into a unit operation irrigation scheme.

Under the new arrangement, the community would be allocated planting plots on the edges of the scheme in contrast to what was said at the

scheme’s inception which saw 90 households losing their fields to pave way for the scheme.

During his visit at Insukamini Irrigation Scheme in Gweru District last week Masuka said the government has come up with a Statutory

Instrument, which empowers it to evict those underutilising land on irrigation schemes.

He said the pieces of land would be reallocated to those showing capacity and potential.

“Anyone who is on a scheme like this is very privileged because they are many more Zimbabweans who do not have this privilege and you must

convert this privilege to production. Should we find that you are reluctant to convert this privilege to production, productivity and profitability we have a statutory instrument which allows us to evict you from the scheme and resettle you elsewhere and invite other Zimbabweans who want to make use of the land,” Masuka said. >

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