Nyore Madzianike Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT’S efforts to resuscitate Cashel Valley Irrigation Scheme in Chimanimani has been dealt a hard blow after Cyclone Idai damaged most of the infrastructure which was recently built by the District Development Fund (DDF). Cashel Valley Irrigation Scheme was being rehabilitated under the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme.
Nearly $1 430 000 had been allocated towards the resuscitation of the irrigation scheme with more than 110 farmers set to benefit from 386 hectares of irrigable land.
The funding was also set to benefit 381 families using flood irrigation system as three boreholes are also set to be drilled and installed.
According to the DDF, Cashel Valley irrigation scheme had been operating below 30 percent capacity and in need of construction of weirs at Quaggas, Maraisi, Bomhoni and Svinurai.
Resources were also set to be mobilised towards lining of 24 km earth irrigation canals. Cashel Irrigation Scheme had 20 night storage dams which were earmarked for desilting with most of them having been completed.
But all the Government’s efforts were dented by Cyclone Idai, which did not only wash away irrigation infrastructure, but all the famers’ hopes.
Thomas Vhutuza, a farmer in Cashel Valley, saw no hope of having the irrigation scheme rehabilitated anytime soon saying they were left more poorer after the cyclone hit their area.
“Agricultural activities were set for a boom here in Cashel but it seems everything was reduced to zero. There were two intakes here at Maraisi. One was totally damaged and the other one was partially damaged. These were supplying water to farmers around Maraisi area but it appears as if there is no more irrigation to us all considering the amount of damage caused by cyclone,” he said.
“Remember, intakes were placed along rivers like Umvumvumvu. It is now difficult to reach where these intakes were built. I doubt if there was anything left after the cyclone. It therefore means starting afresh,” he said.
Another farmer Preacher Muhamba of Ward One said all the infrastructure that was build along Mupengambudzi river was washed away. He said the irrigation equipment was serving farmers under the Svunurai irrigation area.
“We are now making some makeshift intakes to irrigate some of the crops which needs water. It is now difficult.” he said.
Muhamba said most farmers had plans to start commercialising their farming activities following the revamping of the irrigation scheme but it appears as if their dream will not come to pass.
He said some of the farmers with capacity had already acquired farming implements in large quantities in preparation for another farming season. Muhamba said crop production would be reduced as had been expected by most farmers.