Zimbabwe targets to increase irrigation capacity

2017-04-21 14:50:53 GMT2017-04-21 22:50:53(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

HARARE, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President EmmersonMnangagwa on Friday said the government is targeting to increaseirrigation capacity to at least 300,000 hectares to ensure foodsecurity.

Addressing the inaugural maize value chain conference, Mnangagwasaid at present only about 160,000 hectares of land was underirrigation, state media New Ziana reported.

"It is the government's desire to see the country's farmingactivities becoming more productive and cost efficient with anirrigable expanded maize crop area of a minimum of at least 300,000hectares," he said.

Zimbabwe has many water bodies that has not been fully utilizeddue to limited financial resources and neglect of existingirrigation facilities.

Agriculture experts have challenged Zimbabwe to exploit its vastirrigation potential to combat the effects of climate change.

Mnangagwa said the completion of Tokwe-Mukorsi dam in southernMasvingo province would add an additional 25,000 hectares to thecountry's existing irrigation capacity, and more initiatives werebeing pursued to add further capacity.

He said it was also important to prioritize farm mechanization,adoption of modern farming methods and development of improved seedvarieties.

Zimbabwe has over the past few years seen its agriculturalproduction dropping on the back of changing weather patterns,unreliable rains as well as other production bottlenecks.

In the 2014/15 season, Zimbabwe wrote off about 300,000 hectaresout of an estimated 2 million hectares that were planted aftercrops failure due to sporadic rains leading to a serious deficitthat government met through imports. Enditem