Communities in Bulilima have called on the government to assist in desilting major dams in the district in order to improve water and food security in the drought prone-district.

Ngwana Dam in Matjinge used to be the lifeline of the villagers of Ngwana, Nyele and Ndiweni, but siltation due to stream bank cultivation and other poor farming methods has reduced the holding capacity of the water source.

The water security of over 500 households and livestock relying on the dam is constantly under threat as the precious liquid depletes around September.

The villagers therefore believe desilting of major dams in their areas, as well as the sinking of more boreholes will alleviate the perennial water challenges.

“We used to have a community garden here but we have stopped producing because the water is just not enough. All our livestock drink water from this dam so we envisage a situation where by in September this place will be dry,” a villager, Mr Freddy Dube said.

Bulilima East legislator, who is also the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu conceded that there is need to invest in water harvesting saying this will also enhance agriculture production.

His remarks come amid efforts aimed at linking small-holder irrigation farmers with markets in Botswana through Zimtrade.

“We need to improve water situation here because that way we are able to help our irrigation schemes to boost production. We envisage a situation whereby farmers sell their produce to neighbouring Botswana,” said Cde Ndlovu.

Government has been making efforts to improve water harvesting and storage systems.

However, it is imperative to expedite the national desilting programme if water security is to be improved and food production output is to be increased in drought prone areas such as Matebeleland South.