HomeLocal NewsUmguza farmers chide Zinwa over charges

Umguza farmers chide Zinwa over charges

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BY SILISIWE MABALEKA

UMGUZA farmers have taken the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to task for poor water supply, whose billing they say is unaffordable.

The farmers say they only get water supplies three to four days per week.

This was revealed last Thursday during a stakeholder sensitisation meeting by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Adra) Zimbabwe in partnership with the Australian Aid, which discussed farming activities to improve livelihoods under the theme Engage in Projects on Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan.

The meeting was also attended by government officials, seed supplier Seed Co and non-governmental organisation Orap.

Umguza farmer Thalitha Matutu urged Zinwa and Zesa Holdings to address water and electricity problems to enable farmers to get enough water for farming activities.

“We have challenges with Zesa as electricity is switched off for three to four days, and on the other hand, Zinwa doesn’t consider that we are small-holder farmers. We cannot afford to pay for their registered borehole water,” Matutu said.

“The other problem is that when we take our produce to the market, we find that cleanliness standards at the Bulawayo 5th Avenue vegetable market are very low. The manner in which vegetables and fruits are handled is unpleasant. We encourage responsible authorities to sensitise farmers on issues of cleanliness,” she said, adding that the Australian Aid and Adra programme had been supporting Umguza farmers to produce quality produce.

The programme has benefited mostly women and people with disabilities.

Adra international programmes manager Kate Morrison said: “We chose to support stakeholders from government and the private sector to improve farmer’s livelihoods and to enhance food security in Zimbabwe. It is a great privilege to make sure we empower women, youths and people with disabilities.”

Morrison said farmers, who benefit from the programme, were taught about climate change adaptation and different ways of conserving water and the use of chemicals on soils.

Matabeleland North provincial Agritex officer Dumisani Nyoni said: “The scheme also targets to grow 18 million trees, 25 000 village nutrition gardens and 9 600 school nutrition gardens. Four thousand dip tanks shall be equipped with boreholes for purposes of dipping.”

Adra programmes director Mhlonipheni Ncube said the project started running in July 2021 and will end in June 2024, targeting 5 000 direct beneficiaries in Umguza, Murewa and Mutoko districts to improve livelihoods, to develop domestic markets and create access or linkages to export markets.

“Adra will be setting up centres of excellence in Matabeleland North in Umguza district and Mashonaland East in Murewa district,” Ncube said.

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