THE Zimunya-Marange Community Ownership Trust has constructed a 200 000 litre storage tank to pave way for the establishment of an irrigation scheme as part of efforts to ensure food security.
The communal farmers will draw water from Mpudzi Dam, which has a carrying capacity of 13 million mega litres, but had been lying idle since completion in 2003.
Mpudzi Dam has had no commercial use in the last 16 years, and the latest initiative will see villagers fighting food shortages following the irrigation initiative.
An assortment of horticultural crops and maize will be produced at the 20-hectare irrigation scheme. About 100 households are expected to benefit from the project, which will also create more jobs for local youths and women. Financial and material donations are being mobilised for other outstanding works.
Locals are helping out with locally available resources and labour.
Headman Happymore Nyamana hailed the initiative to utilise abundant water in Mpudzi Dam to help his people.
"We were failing to realise our full agricultural potential due to water shortages. The irrigation scheme will definitely improve our operations. This will improve the social and economic welfare of the people," said Headman Nyamana.
Mutare South MP Cde Jeffrey Ngome said the implementation of agricultural project would help the country to attain an upper middle income economy by 2030 in line with President Mnangagwa's vision.
"We are implementing diverse agriculture projects as a way of empowering the rural people. This irrigation scheme will help rural farmers to improve their farming efficiency.
"All along communal farmers relied on rain-fed agriculture, and the introduction of irrigation, accompanied by modern agronomic practices, will definitely fulfil their agricultural potential," said Cde Ngome.
Local farmers who spoke to The Herald said the irrigation scheme could not have come at a better time in a region that has been continuously afflicted by drought.
Said Mr Funwell Shiri, a communal farmer: "Irrigation farming was the only way out. We are happy with the completion of the tank.
"Water shortage has been our main undoing, and this means we will be able to produce all-year-round."