GUTU: SUGARCANE milling giant Tongaat Hullets breathed new life into drought prone Gutu after the company provided over $150,000 to help rehabilitate a 32 hector communal irrigation scheme.
The scheme had collapsed due to dilapidated pumping systems coupled with economic hardships facing the rural community.
The irrigation scheme, Lauder in Gutu West, used to be the pride of the community, sustaining over 150 families from within the area and beyond.
Tongaat has installed a state of the art 75 horse power pumping facility, lateral pipes and repaired main pipe line fittings.
The intervention has seen beneficiaries farming sugar beans, wheat and vegetables this winter while more land is being cleared for maize production later in the year.
Deputy Director for operations in the ministry of Agriculture department of irrigation, Bezel Chitsungo, who officially handed the refurbished scheme to the community, commended the company for investing in irrigation.
He said the move empowered small scale farmers and helped provided food security at a time the country is facing drought due to changing rainfall patterns.
Chitsungo also urged the community to properly use and monitor the newly installed equipment and ensure repairs are done on time instead of waiting for government and other well-wishers to come to the rescue each time there is a breakdown.
“Government highly commends these smart public-private partnerships as communities are bound to benefit from this project, but the onus is on the community to ensure that they safe guard the equipment to ensure continuity of the scheme,” he said.
Edmond Masanganise, Gutu paramount chief, said the community should not politicise the irrigation scheme by identifying beneficiaries on political lines but ensure hard working people with the capacity and knowledge to farm, are given first preference.
“This irrigation is not for people who belong to a certain political party but for the people of Gutu as a whole; we do not want to hear reports of people allocating themselves pieces of land on the scheme along political affiliations; this is an apolitical community initiative.
“We need full representation from all spheres of the community even poorest members in society who have little resources and the elderly should be able to benefit,” he said.Advertisement
Tongaat Hullets financial director, Shelton Nhari, said his company is committed to assisting rural communities in Masvingo with financial and material assistance,.
He added that the company, this year alone, had funded various food security projects to the tune of $600,000.