Bundling by officials from the Department of Irrigation Development and those from the power utility ZESA in installing and powering a state of the art center pivot irrigation machine a Donkotonkwe Valley Irrigation Scheme has affected production as the scheme now remains fallow.
The once thriving 200 hectare irrigation scheme in Matobo district of Matabeleland South Province the home area of the late Father Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo which was a source of livelihood to 400 households from the Sigwaza, Sizinda and Shogwana areas remains fallow after government service providers failed to coordinate and install power.
Donkotonwe Valley Irrigation Scheme got a short in the arm from the Brazil More Food Agricultural Input Scheme when it was allocated a state of the art centre pivot machine but that relief has failed to bring any benefits as the centre pivot continues to rust at the scheme.
Chairman of the scheme Mr Gibson Zulu told ZBC News that officials from the irrigation department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development first failed to install the centre pivot and the committee had to seek for a helping hand from Trek Petroleum officials who are partners of ARDA Maphisa.
While the blame was first put on the shoulder of Mr Todd Ntombi the ZESA manager in Matabeleland South Province as having failed to electrify the scheme, Mr Ntombi in a telephone interview from Gwanda shot back at the irrigation department who sidelined the national power utility in awarding the tender and opted for a private company that has not been able to do the job.
In response Mr Shepard Mpotekwa the provincial irrigation officer confirmed that the contractor who was given a tender to install power by the department of irrigation who was only identified as one Mr Dzuke of Agmses company indeed failed to deliver.
He however shifted the blame fingers back at the power utility saying even if they had managed to install a transformer at the irrigation scheme that would not have helped as ZESA has failed for months to repair the 25 km power line after the power pylons fell down months ago an issue Mr Ntombi also acknowledged.
The bickering by the two institutions has affected a worthy national programme the command agriculture as the irrigation scheme remains fallow.
This delay has also affected the good will gesture by partners of ARDA Maphisa who offered to provide technical support to the communal irrigation farmers with seed and fertilizer in their first season including an additional offer to further install two more centre pivot machines at Donkotonwe Scheme.
The farmers also feel shortchanged and have since appealed their matter to Vice President Cde Phelekezela Mphoko for intervention before the lose out even on the wheat cropping season.