Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe and some private players have been given the nod by Government to develop 7 000 hectares of virgin land around Manyuchi Dam in Mwenezi for maize and sugar cane production under irrigation.
Manyuchi Dam, which was constructed in the mid-1980s, has largely remained underutilised, with its water only irrigating 2 800ha of sugarcane plantations at Mwenezana Estates.
Government now wants Tongaat and the private players to ensure Manyuchi’s water is fully utilised in line with the ongoing thrust of using all water bodies to grow food and help the nation achieve food security.
Besides promoting food security, full exploitation of the dam will create more jobs on top of the over 750 directly employed at Mwenezana.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira, on Tuesday said Tongaat was keen to expand its plantations to 4 000ha to increase sugar production.
“We have given Tongaat and other private players permission to expand the area under irrigation around Manyuchi to cover the 7 000ha capacity of the dam, which is the biggest in Mwenezi,” he said.
“It is not only sugar that we want to be produced using Manyuchi’s water, hence we are looking for other private players to develop plans for irrigating crops such as maize.”
The Masvingo provincial leadership is concerned about the underutilisation of Manyuchi Dam, at a time the province is eyeing food security through expansion of the winter maize project.