Government has announced plans to expand Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Project in Binga to 15 000 hectares with an estimated maize output of around 150 metric tonnes per annum in a bid to create more jobs and create export-led economic growth.
The Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Project which is part of the Zambezi Green Valley (ZAGREVA) project is set for massive expansion which will transform it into Matabeleland North irrigation giant and make Binga an economic hub.
The planned expansion will see the hectares under cropping being increased to around 15 000 hectares.
Currently the hectarage under irrigation is 400 hectares.
Officiating during the launch of the Presidential Input Scheme in Binga, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri said the expansion of the project will also see the growing of citrus fruits for export and installation of value addition equipment for all the crops.
“I have been sent by the President to tell you that this multi-million dollar project is set to undergone a major expansion. We intend to expand it to 15 000 hectares and ensure that it plays a critical role in job creation and ensuring export-led economic growth,” he said.
The cabinet minister bemoaned the vandalism of equipment at the irrigation scheme and also urged the Binga community to fully embrace the devolution of power.
Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Mr Richard Moyo paid tribute to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the expansion of the project and for ensuring that no community is left behind in the transformation agenda.
“We welcome the plans by government to expand this project. It was greatly benefit this community,” said Minister Moyo.
A total of 15 tonnes of compound d fertiliser, 15 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and 3 tonnes of maize seed were distributed to the villagers.
Grain Marketing Board General Manager Mr Rockie Mutenha said in line with the planned expansion of the irrigation project and the project surge in output the state owned enterprise will also build a new depot in Binga.
“The expansion will obviously mean that output from this project will surge tremendously therefore we have to be pro-active and set up the necessary infrastructure in particular a GMB depot,” he said.
Binga is one of country’s driest areas with relatively low annual rainfall.
Making use of the Zambezi river, the government is targeting to create a greenbelt in areas along the river stretching from Kazungula to Kariba.