Climate/EnvironmentFarming/Agriculture

Zim hosts irrigation investment indaba to fight hunger

MARTIN MAWAYA

HARARE – The Ministry of Lands and Agriculture is set to host an irrigation investment conference on July 5, 2024, meant to fight hunger and food insecurity.

President Mnangagwa will grace the occasion, which aligns with the government’s recognition of irrigation as a critical climate change adaptation strategy in the fight against food insecurity.

Based on the water stored in the country’s reservoirs, Zimbabwe is targeting an estimated national irrigation potential of 2.2 million hectares.

Mwenezi Irrigation scheme.

Resultantly, the upcoming conference will be used to develop sustainable financing models for irrigation rehabilitation and development in the country

The conference will be held under the theme “Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable and Structured Irrigation Financing to Deliver Food Security; Everywhere, Everyday.”

With more than 300 delegates, including representatives from local and international financial institutions, government agencies, donor organizations, UN agencies, farmers’ unions, academia, and the private sector, are expected to attend.

According to the Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Dr Obert Jiri, the government has explored various options, including public-private partnerships, to attract investment into irrigation.

Zimbabwe has also facilitated the formation of the Irrigation Development Alliance (IDA), which aims to fund the development of 153,000 hectares of land under irrigation by 2027.

The government has prioritized irrigation development, as outlined in the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation Development Plan, which targets the development of 350,000 hectares of land under irrigation by 2025, said Dr Jiri.

“This has seen area under irrigation increase from an initial 175 000 Ha in 2019 to 217 000 Ha in 2024,” added Dr Jiri.

However, Dr Jiri emphasized the need for more transformative initiatives and strategies to increase investment in irrigation development and rehabilitation to achieve the set targets.

These include “engaging with multilateral financial institutions for strategic partnerships”, facilitating knowledge sharing and the adoption of best practices, and crowding in private sector and development finance for irrigation development.

He said the conference will showcase the latest innovations, products, and services in irrigation technology, as well as demonstrate the local-level capacity to develop irrigation.

Provinces will also present their respective irrigation investment prospectuses, while irrigation companies, associations, institutes, and other sector stakeholders will exhibit their offerings.

In addition, there will be outside exhibition of products and services by national, regional and international  stakeholders.

The primary objective of the conference is to “discuss the current status of irrigation development in Zimbabwe and showcase available opportunities for investing in the sector,” stated the Permanent Secretary.

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