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Presidential Rural Development Programme launched

Dr. Anxious Masuka

The Ministery of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development yesterday launched the Presidential Rural Development Programme in pursuit of accelerating the attainment of Vision 2030.

In his keynote address, during the launch in Mashonaland West Province, Dr. Anxious Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development said the programme was the hallmark of the Second Republic as it seeks to advance progress.

“The Presidential Rural Development Programme is an accelerator for the attainment of Vision 2030, anchored on the provision of water as a right and an economic enabler. Water will cause agricultural development. Agricultural development will cause rural industrialisation. Rural industrialisation will spur rural development which will, in turn, facilitate the attainment of Vision 20230. The Presidential Rural Development Programme will transform rural communities from being largely economic spectators to largely economic actors and participants,” Dr. Masuka said.

He said under the Presidential Rural Development Programme, Government, through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) intends to drill and equip a total of 35 000 boreholes by 2025. This means a borehole in each of the 35 000 villages across Zimbabwe. These solar-powered boreholes will then open the way for the local communities to establish horticulture gardens, drip irrigation, growing high-value crops, fisheries, and piped water schemes together with washing slabs and cattle troughs.

The Minister said Presidential Rural Development Programme is a complete package which will address food security, import substitution, poverty alleviation and eradication, access to safe and clean water by rural communities and employment creation.

In this year alone, he revealed that 5 000 boreholes will be drilled nationally, two per ward, and more than half of which shall have the gardens constructed this year.

“A whole of Government approach will see ZINWA providing water infrastructure, the Irrigation department will provide drip irrigation infrastructure and security fence, ARDA, supported by Agritex, will provide agronomy support, AFC will provide seed financing for cash crops growing, while AMA and ZIMTRADE will provide marketing support. The Tobacco Research Board and DR&SS will provide sweet potato vines to households, Forestry Commission will provide fruit tree seedlings. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Department will provide support in fish farming. DDF will drill boreholes at all 9600 schools in the country. Additionally, ZINWA will drill a borehole, one in each ward, for youth development. This whole of government approach is unprecedented.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Presidential Rural Development Programme feeds into and complements existing Government programmes such as the Horticulture Recovery Plan and the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, all of which are directed at achieving US$8, 2 billion agricultural sector by 2025. By 2030, it is expected that the projects under the Presidential Rural Development Programme will be earning each and every beneficiary household in the region of USD 600 a year. The immense potential of this programme to transform rural livelihoods is already on display in Mangwe’s Makokoro Areas where the President launched the model project. Beneficiaries of the project are already reaping dividends after making an R41 000 profit on their first harvest and are already preparing to make their first fish sales,” Dr. Masuku said.

In addition to these profits, the beneficiaries are also paid approved wages for the work they put into the projects. Food security in the area has also since improved as some of the produce is sold to local people at affordable prices.

To add impetus to this project, Government has, through the ZINWA, procured 40 borehole drilling rigs to be equally distributed among the eight rural provinces of Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Midlands, Manicaland, Matebeleland North and Matebeleland South.

Dr . Masuku added that this life-changing Presidential Rural Development Programme will touch all the seven (7) districts of Mashonaland West Province with two (2) boreholes being drilled in each of the 231 wards during the first phase.

“I am pleased to advise that these rigs are now being delivered, with what we are unveiling today being part of this. As ZINWA takes delivery of more borehole drilling rigs, so will we accelerate the implementation pace.

“As we rebuild Zimbabwe and the agriculture sector brick by brick, and stone upon stone, no one and no place will be left behind, no household and no village will be left behind, nokuti nyika inovakwa nevene vayo (a country is built by its own people).”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende