VP Mphoko's bid to set up banana plantations praised

VP Mphoko's bid to set up banana plantations praised
Published: 05 January 2015 (1443 Views)
VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko has been praised for his plans to set up banana plantations in Matabeleland North and South provinces with calls for him to also look at the incomplete Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme in Binga.

Former Matabeleland North governor Thokozile Mathuthu yesterday said the scheme was a brain child of former Vice President Joice Mujuru.

VP Mphoko last Wednesday toured a banana plantation at Magwamazi Ranch in Gwanda and revealed plans of establishing a similar project for the people in Mtshabezi, Matabeleland South and in Binga.

Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman Richard Moyo appealed to VP Mphoko to ensure the completion of the irrigation in Binga as equipment was now lying idle.

"We're very happy with plans by VP Mphoko to establish a banana plantation for the people in Binga. I'm sure that the province will benefit from such a project," said Moyo on the sidelines of a Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting in Lupane on Saturday.

"We appeal to the Vice President to also look at unfinished projects like the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme started by former Vice President Mujuru and is still incomplete after so many years.

"There's equipment that's being vandalised and some equipment is lying idle."

Mathuthu said Mujuru started the project when she was still Minister of Water Affairs but the snail pace at which it was moving was due to economic problems caused by sanctions.

According to reports last year, the workforce at the scheme reduced from about 60 employees to 15 due to financial constraints, despite construction being at about 73 percent for the first phase of the irrigation project.

District irrigation technician Pride Mahombera said they reduced the number of employees because of lack of funds and inactivity at the scheme.

Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme is set to be the biggest scheme in Matabeleland region with 16,000 hectares of land to be irrigated and with a potential of benefiting 10,000 people directly and indirectly. Crops to be irrigated there include tomatoes, cabbages, onions, garlic and some other crops like wheat, sugar beans, potatoes and soya beans.

Bulawayo Kraal will be the sixth major irrigation scheme in Binga. Other schemes include Siabuwa which covers 21ha, Kariyangwe 110ha, Mlibizi 16ha, Tyuunga 12ha as well as Lubimbi which after completion will draw water from the hot springs.

Meanwhile, construction of the Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial offices will start on Wednesday following the acquisition of building materials.

After the PCC meeting on Saturday, party members toured the stand where the offices will be built from the surplus funds raised for the running of the 6th Zanu-PF National People's Congress in Harare last December.

Chairperson of the committee on the building of the offices, Zenzo Sibanda, said the province had bought 70,000 bricks and already 60,000 of them had been delivered to the construction site. He said they had also acquired 1,200 bags of cement, door and window frames.

- Chronicle

Tags: VPMphoko,
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