Guyu-Chelesa irrigation scheme collapses

By Vumani Mthiyane

The once vibrant Guyu-Chelesa irrigation scheme has collapsed leaving 160 families vulnerable.  

The scheme was last operational three years ago where small holder farmers were producing maize, beans, wheat and vegetables for resale and domestic consumption. 

CITE recently visited the scheme situated 58km south west of Gwanda, with some of the members appealing for government intervention. 

The vice secretary, Mr Moyo, said flash floods that hit in the area in 2016 destroyed their water pumps.  

“As stakeholder farmers, we started farming here 20 years ago when the irrigation scheme was a source of livelihood for many in Gwanda and Matabeleland South province at large. We used to produce for the market and for home consumption during the days of operation. 

“NGOs and good rains contributed immensely towards good harvests as the organisations would provide us with inputs and technical support and market linkages for our products. 

“However, after the destruction of our engines the irrigation scheme seized to operate and now our families are suffering,” said Moyo. 

Moyo said they were later approached by officials from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) who offered to rehabilitate their pumps and use them for a specific period.  

” We signed a contract with Zinwa who had promised to fix our engines and use them to pump water to Guyu training centre and at the same time supplying us for irrigation purposes.

“Instead they used our equipment and when it broke down they moved it to Bulawayo and dumped it at their workshop.  Up to now they have not fulfilled their promise, ” he said. 

Contacted for a comment the Agritex provincial officer, Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu confirmed that the irrigation scheme had been affected by the breakdown of the water pumps.

” The irrigation had 160 irrigators on a gross area of 85 hectares but were utilising only 32 hectares that is developed in farmland.  Dysfunctionality is due to river electric motors which were submerged in water 2 years back,” said Ndlovu.

The provincial irrigation engineer, Joseph Mpotegwa said the resuscitation of the scheme largely depended on the availability of water pumps.  

” Zinwa must repair the pumps and return them to the irrigation. If they can manage to get back their equipment from Zinwa, as a department we can have a starting point on how to resuscitate the scheme,” said eng. Mpotegwa. 

Speaking during a drought relief committee meeting held in Gwanda recently, Agritex crop officer, Shepherd Ncube said the district has eight major irrigation schemes but only two were operational.

He said the rest of the irrigation schemes were lying idle due to water challenges, power outages and obsolete equipment.

“The district has eight main irrigation schemes; Makwe, Masholomoshe, Guyu Chelesa, Mankonkoni, Rustlers’ Gorge, Sebasa, Sukwi and Tuli-Lushonkwe irrigations schemes, which have a total of 480 hectares combined,” said Mr Ncube.

“At the moment we have 60 hectares of land under maize while the remaining 420 hectares were not planted as farmers operating from the schemes are faced with various challenges.

“The main challenge is low water levels that supply irrigations, pumps that draw water are old and therefore have constant break downs while some irrigation schemes are experiencing power outages such as Makwe Irrigation. This has caused the irrigation schemes to remain under utilised,” he said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button