Japan gives Zim $15m for irrigation project

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THE Japanese government has extended a $15 million grant to government to fund the second phase of an irrigation scheme in Nyanga.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

The Nyakomba irrigation scheme is set to benefit 861 smallholder farmers.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for the exchange of notes and grant agreement for Nyakomba Irrigation Scheme Development in Harare yesterday, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa said the intervention by the Japanese government would reduce the impact of climate change, among others.

“The intervention by the government of Japan in the agriculture sector will assist in reducing the adverse impact of climate change, restore damaged irrigation infrastructure and develop new irrigation infrastructure for A1 and A2 farmers for block A in Nyakomba,” Chinamasa said.

Finance and economic development  minister Patrick Chinamasa pic

He said the project would commence in 2016 focusing on construction of irrigation facilities in block A which covers 138 hectares for A1 and A2, replacement and repairing of pump and flood protection structure for existing irrigation facilities in block B, C and D which were damaged by floods during period 1997 and 2000 and also procurement of pumps, pipelines and other equipment needed for operation and maintenance required in block A, B, C and D.

Chinamasa said the government would also construct irrigation for block E which covers 94 hectares which would benefit 180 smallholder farmers.

In his 2015 National Budget, Chinamasa allocated $5,9 million towards the rehabilitation and development of targeted communal smallholder farmers’ irrigation schemes.

Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe Yoshi Tendai Hiraishi said the signing ceremony marked the resumption of substantive bilateral economic co-operation between Japan and Zimbabwe.

“It is unfortunate that due to prolonged economic challenges in this country, government-to-government general grant aid assistance to Zimbabwe was suspended in 2000. Today’s signing therefore marks the resumption of our re-engagement of bilateral economic co-operation with Zimbabwe which gives additional significance to this occasion,” he said.

Hiraishi said the re-engagement was as a result of an official request from the government of Zimbabwe in 2012 and a culmination of lengthy detailed technical studies between the Japan International Co-operation Agency Zimbabwe Office and the Department of Irrigation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.