There was excitement in Bikita district Ward 1 last week when Care Zimbabwe through its project called Enhancing, Nutrition, Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise (Ensure) handed over Chamanhokwe Dam to the community and officially opened Chamanhokwe Irrigation Scheme.
The projects were set up to help improve food security in the area.
The occasion was graced by many people including Ensure representatives, Bikita South Member of Parliament (MP) Josiah Sithole, Chief Mabika and Bikita Rural District Council (RDC) Chief Executive officer (CEO) Peter Chibi.
Ensure has similar projects in other districts where over 20 dams were built and a total of 211 hectares of land were put under irrigation for the benefit of over 5 000 villagers.
Speaking at the occasion, Chibi praised Ensure for what he described as momentous efforts towards making the district a greenbelt.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for this wonderful work and I feel so honored to have such development in my district. I am also happy that we have already begun our move towards Vision 2030. As you may all know, 80 percent of Bikita district is dry land so the land must be turned into a greenbelt,” Chibi said.
Ensure programmes manager, Archibald Chikavanga later told TellZim News that the Chamanhokwe dam and irrigation projects were just among many others that were done in other districts of Masvingo province.
“We are celebrating the achievement done here in Bikita district and hand-over Chamanhokwe Dam and officially opening the irrigation scheme. It is our hope that we will be able to continue supporting vulnerable communities by helping to build their self-sustenance capacity,” said Chikavanga.
The Chamanhokwe projects have helped several families to gain livelihoods from agriculture in an area with erratic rainfall patterns.
“We are grateful for this life-changing opportunity. We now have hope and the means to improve our lives. The irrigation scheme is thriving and the fishery project is also doing very well.
Ensure is weaning us off but I must say we have been capacitated enough to manage these assets. We will work with agritex officers and security guards to improve performance and protect these projects. We plan to drill boreholes to ensure a constant water supply even if the dam is to run dry in the course of the seasons and we plan to build more fish ponds so that we will have fishing competitions in the future,” said Esau Gwande, who is the asset manager.
Market facilitator, Dadirai Mawanza said produce will be sold to local schools and the wider community.
“Access to the markets for our products is not a problem since we sell our vegetables, chickens, tomatoes and fish to such school as Mashoko High and to the surrounding communities,” said Mawanza.