Mushandike Irrigation Scheme is under threat from illegal settlers who ever increasingly building on land reserved for pastures.

The irrigation scheme is a source of livelihood for many people in Masvingo, where more than 600 people are plot holders.

In times of drought, Mushandike Irrigation Scheme is a refuge for many, who come to either buy food or exchange their labour in return for food.

The viability of the scheme is however under threat as the number of illegal settlers is ever increasing.

On the other hand, some of the illegal settlers are using water meant for irrigation to mold bricks for resale.

The plot holders at Mushandike have sent out a distress call, saying their operations are being severely affected by the illegal settlers.

There are counter accusations on who is selling the land.
Some say they bought stands for $750 and they named the people who sold it to them.

They however insisted that they were not aware that the land was being sold to them illegally. 

Some of those accused of selling the land were brought to task by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – Cropping, Cde Davis Marapira.  Some admitted to breaking the law, while others denied the allegations.

Cde Marapira said the issue needs to be addressed as it threatens food security.

Masvingo Provincial Administrator, Mr Fungai Mbetsa said his office is aware of the illegal settlers, describing the situation as disturbing.

He said the District Lands Identification Committee will look into the matter.

The legal plot holders remain hopeful that the relevant authorities will move in quickly to address the situation.