A frustrated commercial farmer has accused the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) of neglecting Mangwe Dam, which they relied on for irrigation purposes.
Covering a surface area of 167 hectares, Mangwe Dam, the second biggest in the district after Ingwizi, has been lying idle for nearly two years following a burst of a major pipe that draws water from the water source.
The dam has been supplying water to commercial farmers in the area, nearby villages, Mangwe Police Station, and Plumtree town.
“We still do not have access to water from Mangwe Dam, ” said Mafesi Ncube, a commercial farmer.
“ZINWA people are just dragging their feet when it comes to them doing their work. We do not have water. The water in Mangwe Dam is just blown away by the winds with no one using it.”
Ncube told CITE all his efforts to engage ZINWA engineers and Ministry of Agriculture officials have not yielded any fruit, despite having given him assurances of fixing the problem.
“They had promised that by last month they would have replaced the pipe but there is nothing,” he decried.
“We don’t know what is happening. While the President is saying one thing other people are saying something else. That is the problem. So, while the President and the Minister of Agriculture (Anxious Masuka) are talking about productive returns, we at Mangwe are on the verge of losing our farms as we are not producing anything because the dam is not giving us the water.”
Ncube said it was regrettable that while Matabeleland was facing a crippling drought, water was just lying idle.
“Last year I lost three hectares of soya and sugar beans,” he bemoaned.
“This year my maize is affected, about four hectares. Last year I took a ZWL$800 000 loan from AgriBank and I am failing to repay that money.”
The farmer said ZINWA promised to fix the pipe when it burst but later disappeared for three months.
“When we made a follow up they told us of financial challenges,” he explained.
“We waited for the national budget which followed believing the money would be made available. We watched them as they focused on Mashonaland dams. Even the day before yesterday the president was talking about building more dams so we can farm. So why is it that here in Mangwe they do not want us to farm?”
However, ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager Marjorie Munyonga told CITE the type of pipe burst that occurred at the dam was a major and quite complicated one and requires time to repair.
“ZINWA is fully aware of the impact that the pipe burst has had and is working on the procurement of the materials and other accessories required for the rectification of the pipe burst so that normal water draws from the dam can resume,” she said.