COMMENT: Govt walking the talk on delivering its promises

The Chronicle

THE ultimatum by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka for the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (Arda) to ensure all is in place at the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme in Binga within the next four months or top management will be fired shows the Government’s commitment to complete high impact projects towards the transformation of people’s lives.

This is also in line with the Second Republic’s thrust to complete high impact projects across the country that were initiated but not completed by the First Republic while also establishing new ones guided by President Mnangagwa’s declaration that no part of the country will be left behind in the nation’s developmental trajectory.

Dr Masuka represents the Government’s seriousness in the rollout of people projects and those who have been following him since his appointment know that he does not bluff.

In March last year, Dr Masuka fired the head of an Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda)-run agriculture scheme in Lupane on the spot saying the parastatal’s operations were not in sync with the Second Republic’s thrust of transforming the country’s economy through agriculture.

The minister said a lackadaisical approach to work had no place in the Second Republic that was anchored on maximisation of resources and betterment of citizens’ lives through production.

The warning by Dr Masuka must not be heeded by Arda alone but is a wake-up call to all Government departments that the Second Republic will not let anyone stand in the way of initiatives meant to benefit the people.

As he toured Bulawayo Kraal among other agricultural projects in Binga District while also interacting with various players in the agriculture sector on Thursday, Dr Masuka said there had been so much talk about the resuscitation of Bulawayo Kraal, an irrigation scheme now managed by Arda, but there has been nothing to show for it on the ground in 21 years.

The ultimatum comes after Government awarded a tender to a South African company to redesign water supplies to feed the irrigation scheme drawing water from the Zambezi River.

He said he expected results from the recently appointed Arda chief executive officer, Mr Tinotenda Mhiko and board of management.

“. . . And I’m hoping to see new things at Bulawayo Kraal and if I don’t see new things by April, you will know that he (CEO) will not be there,” said Dr Masuka.

He said when the scheme becomes operational, it will alleviate poverty in the Binga District.

“Now guided by Vision 2030, we have a rural development model that works.

It must be through agriculture that we must empower ourselves out of poverty towards Vision 2030.

This is why we have worked out a successful model for these irrigation schemes as exemplified by the launch by the President of the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme, which we are now expanding,” said Dr Masuka.

“We now have got a resident manager and we have 99 scheme participants who are paid daily for what they have worked for.

“When we have harvested, we deduct all costs and they become shareholders and they get a dividend upon harvesting.

This is the only way that we can have inclusive development. Development that leaves no one and no place behind.”

The minister said it was pleasing that there is already 100 hectares of sorghum and another of sunflower that has been planted following good rains. It is projected that the crops could generate about $36 million.

“We can promise you that we have found a successful formula for the resuscitation of all irrigation schemes and Bulawayo Kraal is high on the list of the schemes that must be resuscitated.

“I want this scheme to work and I will be back in four weeks and we will be here together to supervise this scheme to ensure we get everything right,” said the minister.

“There are other projects coming that are associated with this scheme as the chief executive officer has explained.

One of them is fisheries and we will be able to do fish ponds along the line so that you get fish for nutrition as well as fish for sale.”

President Mnangagwa’s administration is walking the talk on delivering its promises to the people and those that are not in sync with the Government’s thrust will find themselves in the cold.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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