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President sets up committee for Byo water – The Herald

Nqobile Bhebhe Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has approved the appointment of a 20-member Bulawayo Water Technical Committee to oversee the rapid improvement of water and sanitation services in the city over a 100-day period.

The committee is chaired by former chair and dean in the faculty of engineering at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Dr Annatoria Chinyama.

Members are drawn from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, water engineers from Zinwa, Bulawayo City Council, public health practitioners, the Environment Management Agency (EMA) and members of the academia.

A similar technical committee was recently put in place in Harare by the Government to improve the water supply situation.

Announcing the committee yesterday in Bulawayo, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the committee has a historic task as they have been called by President Mnangagwa to assist the city to ensure that there is a sustainable and adequate supply of water.

“A Technical Committee, in terms of Section 6 (1) (b and c) of the Water Act (Chapter 20: 24) as read with the ZINWA Act (Chapter 20:25) section 5 (1) (b and e) be formed to implement the project within a 100-day period.

“The terms of reference of the technical team on Bulawayo Water and Sanitation Services 100-day improvement are to rehabilitate the Mzingwane dam booster station, including transformer upgrade to increase delivery of water from current 125 megalitres per day to 175 megalitres per day.”

“The task also includes the upgrade of the 2,8km 110 mm PVC pipeline in Cowdray Park water mainline to 315 mm PVC pipeline so that all the 25 000 households in Cowdray Park get water at the right pressure,” said Minister Masuka.

Another task of the committee is to ensure the sustainable operation of the Nyamandlovu Aquifer Water Supply system to constantly supply 16 megalitres per day.

Dr Masuka added that the technical team will strive to ensure improved potable water supply coverage in the city from 125 megalitres per day to a minimum 175 mega litres per day.

He said another key term of reference is to produce a short, medium and long-term plan for sustainable improvement of water and sanitation services.

Bulawayo residents continue to endure prolonged water cuts, sometimes more than a week in some suburbs, at a time when some parts of the country are experiencing an outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea.

The situation is worsened by the vandalism of transformers and boreholes at Epping Forest and Nyamandlovu, which reduced the pumping capacity from 20 ML to 4 ML a day. This has affected 60 000 residents who rely on water from the aquifer.

The vandalism of electricity and water infrastructure has been described as a national security threat, and last year the Government set up an inter-ministerial committee to find a lasting solution to the issue.

The committee is composed of representatives from the ministries of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Energy and Power Development, Local Government and Public Works and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage as well as the Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Minister Judith Ncube.

While the completion of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani is expected to bring a lasting solution to Bulawayo’s water woes, the Government has been pumping resources to rehabilitate boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to augment bulk water supplies from dams, which continue to receive inadequate inflows due to poor rains.

In 2020, the Treasury released $205 million through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to rehabilitate 10 boreholes, which increased the city’s daily borehole water drawdown to about 20 megalitres.

However, the bulk of infrastructure has been vandalised and the Bulawayo City Council is only able to pump between nine to 10 mega litres a day which at times is reduced to as little as 3ML.

Dr Masuka outlined immediate intervention to ease the water challenges faced by Bulawayo.

“There is a need to upgrade the Mzingwane Booster pumps (US$900 000) and Cowdray Park Water Mains (US$ 350 000) and Nyamandlovu Aquifer (US$300 000) giving a total of about US$1,55 billion which is required for immediate interventions to solve the city’s water supply challenges.

“This will allow Bulawayo city to have 150 megalitres per day against an unrestricted demand of 174 mega litres per day.”

Dr Masuka said the rapid expansion of Cowdray Park suburb created significant challenges to the city’s water supply infrastructure.

“With over 25 000 stands, the 110 mm PVC pipe that feeds the areas is not sufficient to provide adequate water pressure and flow to all households. This has resulted in some households receiving water at low pressure and others not receiving  water at all. In order to address this issue, we propose increasing the size of the pipeline to ensure that all households in the area have access to water,” he said.

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Breaking news – Chronicle

Delegates arrive for climate change Indaba (COP28) in Dubai

Leonard Ncube in the United Arab Emirates

 DELEGATES have started trickling into the Dubai Expo Centre for the 28th Conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) that is starting today until 12 December 2023.

The Zimbabwe pavilion is set and ministers are expected to visit the venue. Zimbabwe is taking strides in climate action for a green future. This is in line with the country’s Vision 2030 for an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 through people-centric, participatory development and climate action programmes.

 The country is taking the climate-proofed agriculture model, Pfumvudza/Intwasa to the COP28 to show the world strides made in ensuring sustainable use of land for food nutrition. The country is also driving towards a pro-people, win-win beneficiation and just carbon credits initiatives and attainment of Environmental Sustainability through community-driven conservation models and unlocking community development through devolved sustainable climate economies.

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Roundup: Zimbabwean farmers tackle El Nino draught with diverse … – Xinhua

People deal with harvested wheat at a farm in Chegutu, west of the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct. 31, 2022. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has already painted a gloomy outlook for the season, saying that the El Nino event would lead to rainfall deficits affecting the 2024 harvests, leaving many people vulnerable to food insecurity.

HARARE, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwean farmers, especially those dependent on rain-fed agriculture, are increasingly worried about delayed and erratic rains which have disrupted planting for the 2023-24 season in much of the country.

Some of those who had planted early are already counting their losses, with many of them hoping to replant, but this time they prefer short-season varieties if good rains fall soon.

The Southern Africa region as a whole is expected to experience normal to below normal rains this season as a result of the El Nino event, but the delay in rainfalls has thrown many farmers off the rails.

Urban farmer Christopher Chizinga said his maize crop, planted on a wetland northwest of the city, had already failed, and he would be replanting if the rain came soon.

“This season has been terrible. Usually, I would have already finished weeding and applying the first round of top-dressing fertilizer by now, but the heavens have not been kind to us,” he told Xinhua Wednesday.

Echoing Chizinga, Wilson Samaita from Marondera District of Mashonaland East Province, said most of the early planted crops in his fields had wilted and farmers would have to replant.

“It’s very sad. Many of those who planted early intending to take advantage of the first rains will have to replant,” he said.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has already painted a gloomy outlook for the season, saying that the El Nino event would lead to rainfall deficits affecting the 2024 harvests, leaving many people vulnerable to food insecurity.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union Secretary General Paul Zakariya said that timely and area-specific weather forecast information is critical for farmers to plan with agility. He also suggested farmers diversify their crops and incorporate local varieties of drought-tolerant species, such as adding sorghum and millet to maize and adding sunflower and groundnuts to soybeans.

Chief agronomist in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Rutendo Nhongonhema, encouraged farmers under the government-initiated climate-proof agriculture program to opt for short-season varieties as the planting season had since advanced.

“My appeal to farmers at the moment is that … to go for short season varieties because the planting season has progressed with no rains,” she told state news agency New Ziana.

In the year 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe unveiled a comprehensive seven-year project valued at 47 million U.S. dollars in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It aims to fortify the climate resilience of marginalized communities in the southern region of Zimbabwe.

As the project rolls out, more than 221,000 farmers, with over half of them being women, have received enhanced strains of cereal crops, including sorghum and pearl millet, to adapt to climate change.

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Vendors facilitate value addition for smallholder farmers – NewsDay

In an interview with paper (NewsDay Farming), BVTA monitoring and evaluation officer Langton Moyo said it was essential for small holder farmers to learn ways to increase profitability in the business.

THE Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) facilitated training of small-holder farmers on value addition and product diversification to help them get more value from their produce.

The training was done at a BVTA workshop where small-holder farmers were equipped with ways to increase the value of their products to attain greater profits.

In an interview with paper (NewsDay Farming), BVTA monitoring and evaluation officer Langton Moyo said it was essential for small holder farmers to learn ways to increase profitability in the business.

“We saw that it was very essential for smallholder farmers to learn all the right skills in order to properly run their businesses to facilitate the attainment of maximum benefits,” Moyo said.

“They were provided with the knowledge and skills needed to increase the value of their products, which can lead to increased profits.”

The workshop was held on the heels of the engagement rate and the area of land prepared for the farming still being relatively low as some farmers wait for an effective start of the rainy season.

The delay is being caused by the anticipation of El Niño-induced below-average rainfall.

Further, crop inputs, mainly seeds and fertilisers, while available on the market these items are priced well above the affordability of farmers.

Hence, farmers are being pushed to maximise the returns on the crops already planted.

One way that is being done, however, is through farmers withholding their grain in anticipation of the El Niño-induced drought to hike the prices of their goods. This is because if there is a shortage of grain, prices will likely rise leading to farmers making a killing off their goods.

Moyo said the value addition training would help smallholder farmers to effectively come up with strategies to ensure survival in the market, amid fluctuating prices.

“Value addition training will help farmers to know ways of diversifying their income streams and reduce their vulnerability to price fluctuations in the market and also by adding value to their products, farmers can reduce post-harvest losses and improve the shelf-life of their products,” Moyo said.

“More so, value addition trainings empowered farmers to be able to make informed decisions about their businesses, leading to long-term sustainability.”

BVTA executive director Michael Ndiweni said small holder farmers were taking up the initiative of being suppliers of fresh produce to the Nkulumane fruit and veg market in Bulawayo.

The project, Ndiweni continued, was being spearheaded by the Local Government and Public Works ministry under the Building Urban Resilience in Zimbabwe through creating Safe Markets and Green Solutions programme.

“Farmers are welcoming the project because it is going to help to deal with a lot disenfranchising that usually happens in private markets where they pricing of their products is not determined by them but by private market owners, therefore, is a public market and at least they will be in control of the pricing of their own goods,” he said.

Farmers are failing get paid timeously for their produce with government vowing to expedite those payments.

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