THE Government says it will continue to engage community leaders in Chiredzi over a massive lucerne project in Chilonga area and has implored community leaders to relay correct information about its developmental projects and intentions.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo yesterday outlined the Government’s commitment to ensuring locals were not prejudiced and remained the main beneficiaries of the lucerne project.
He said this while addressing the Chilonga community where he explained Government’s policy on the land for irrigation programmes aimed at improving the country’s food security and livestock production.
“The law stipulates that I should demarcate the land that is earmarked for irrigation,” said Minister Moyo.
“As we plan, we have agreed that no one will be forcibly moved to pave way for the project, but a few will be relocated to facilitate developments while Government pays for their resettlement in the same area because the project is theirs.”
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said Government was working on a pastures greenbelt to boost livestock production.
“With climate change, the pastures have lost their lustre. We are working on pastures greenbelts and you as communities will be able to formulate your own feed all these to enhance livestock nutrition.”
Chiredzi Rural District Council has thrown its weight behind the project, with council chairman Mr Edward Matsilele expressing excitement over the anticipated benefits from the project.
“As Chiredzi RDC, we are fully aware of the many benefits of the commercial crops such as lucerne that is why we engaged community leaders and we recommended for the setting aside of communal land for development of Chilonga Phase 3 irrigation scheme,” he said.
Government has taken a phased approach to develop 12 900 hectares in Chilonga with the first phase targeting to expand the existing Chilonga Irrigation Scheme to 2 000 hectares.
The second phase will see another 2 000 hectares developed for community projects and phase 3 is for lucerne grass.