Mnangagwa calls for climate action as region faces drought-prone future

Staff Writer

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the urgent need for innovative solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is projected to make the region more drought-prone in the coming decades.

Zimbabwe, once a food-secure nation, is currently grappling with the devastating effects of a severe drought that has left many farmers reeling.

The country’s agricultural sector, a significant contributor to the economy, is facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe Irrigation Investment Conference, Mnangagwa highlighted that Zimbabwe, like other countries in the region, has not been spared from climate change-induced natural disasters and unpredictable weather patterns.

“Zimbabwe is ordinarily a food secure nation, save for the current devastating drought. Regrettably, due to climate change, our region has been projected to be more drought-prone in the decades to come,” he said.

“It is now urgent and imperative that we think outside the box for the purpose of de-risking our nation from the vagaries of climate change. Similarly, stakeholders and communities alike should accelerate the implementation and adoption of mechanisms to climate-proof our agriculture sector, beginning at the household level.”

The conference came as Zimbabwe and Africa continue to face and grapple with the realities of climate change.

The 2023/24 season drought was regarded as one of the worst in 43 years, with far-reaching consequences.

Mnangagwa said the Agriculture, Food System and Rural Transformation Strategy has anchored the implementation of climate-smart farming methods.

Under this Strategy, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme has led to unprecedented harvests of maize and other traditional grains, while building climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience across communities.

He said agriculture can never develop in isolation, calling for the need to urgently invest in key enablers that drive wholistic and sustainable development.

Mnangagwa said the broadening of our country’s power and energy generation mix, has become more urgent in view of the risks associated with hydro-power generation, as a result of climate change-induced droughts.

Speaking at the same event, Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube said his Ministry continues to support projects and programmes aimed at enhancing the growth of the irrigation sector which is one of the key measures towards drought-proofing agriculture and guaranteeing food security at both household and national levels.

He highlighted that resources amounting to ZiG88.4 million in 2024 have been budgeted under the irrigation sector targeting irrigation rehabilitation, development of irrigation infrastructure and maintenance of communal irrigation schemes.

The treasury chief said major dams such as Tokwe Mukorsi, Machekeranwa  Marovanyati and Chivhu dams were recently commissioned and all will provide water for irrigation purposes.

Currently, other major dams under construction such as Gwayi Shangaani, Kunzvi, Ziminya, Tuli Manyange, Vungu and Semwa are being funded by Treasury and are earmarked for expanding irrigation development once completed.  

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