As most areas in rural Masvingo grapple with the effects of climate change and faced with a looming drought due to the dry spell, equipment for Bengura Irrigation Scheme is lying idle in Bikita at Siya dam.
There have been numerous calls for the country to utilise every water body for irrigation to ensure food security.
Despite these calls, irrigation equipment is lying idle at Siya dam in Bikita as the responsible authorities fail to complete work to construct the irrigation scheme since 2011.
Some of the pipes have been worn out by the weather and are no longer usable.
Several government officials led by Masvingo Minister of State Cde Ezra Chadzamira visited the dam and expressed their displeasure with the failure by the Irrigation Department to complete the work.
The Department of Irrigation representative Engineer Douglas Chari was at pains to explain the lack of progress in the installation of the irrigation infrastructure.
“We realised that we need a different plan and have to change some things even after we started building,” said Engineer Chari.
Minister Chadzamira grilled the irrigation officials on their approach to the project, highlighting that some of the equipment has now been stolen while on site.
He expressed dismay over the department’s failure to conduct a thorough feasibility study before beginning work.
“Hamungatiudzi kuti ikozvino mave kuda kuchinja zvinhu, imi manga mambotanga. Tarirai iyezvino zvinhu zvatoparara zviripano. (You cannot tell us you now want to change the plan yet you had already started work. Now some of the equipment has been worn out while on site),” said Cde Chadzamira.
Chief Mazungunye called on the government to monitor the completion of this project and said this year, thousands in Bikita are faced with food shortages due to the long dry spell that was experienced in the area.
The idea to set up Bengura Irrigation Scheme at Siya dam in Bikita was first mooted in 2008 and the irrigation equipment was delivered at the site in 2011.