The government is finalising the process that will pave way for the construction of the Bubi-Lupane irrigation scheme, making it the first pivot operated scheme of that kind to directly benefit the local community in Matabeleland North Province.

This came out during a community engagement meeting held at Mpofu Primary School in Lupane on Tuesday afternoon.

The irrigation will cover 200 hectares of land and tender invitations in the areas of fencing, land clearing, piping, electrification and setting up a pump station will be released by the end of the week.

Matabeleland North Chief Irrigation Engineer, Mr Charles Mukuli said the $1,8 million project is expected to be operational in six months time and is targeting to benefit 100 households from the local community.

“Let us work together in order to realise the success of this project. The idea however, is to benefit vulnerable families so that they no longer have to depend on the government for food handouts,” he explained

Some of the villagers commended the project saying it will facilitate an improvement in food security, thereby uplifting their livelihoods.

Matabeleland North Minister of State, Ambassador Cain Mathema urged the community to take the project seriously as it will soon become a source of their livelihoods.0

“I understand that four families have so far donated their land so that it becomes part of the irrigation scheme. We need people to have access to water and we will ensure that this project is a success,” he said.

Bubi-Lupane dam has a holding capacity of 40 million cubic metres of water and the project will have three sixty hectare pivots.

Some households will however be affected as the irrigation will take up 20 hectares from the existing fields belonging to members of the Mqoqi community.