Zinwa reprieve for Silalatshani

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THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has given the Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme farmers in Insiza South a reprieve after slashing their debt by more than 50%.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

The move followed an appeal the farmers to the government to consider writing off the debt, which they argued accumulated prior to dollarisation in 2009.

The 853 farmers owed Zinwa $260 000 dating back to 2008 and the authority disconnected supplies. Zinwa’s decision to cut water supplies severely affected the livelihoods of the rural farmers that depended on the irrigation scheme.

Chief Sibasa of Filabusi, under whose jurisdiction the Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme falls, yesterday confirmed that Zinwa had written off $179 000 leaving the farmers with an $81 000 debt.

“Zinwa has scrapped part of our debt by more than 50%. We are only left with a debt of $81 000 which we are required to clear in three months starting from this month end,” he said.

“We also reached an agreement with Zinwa that each farmer will be paying $10 every month for our new bills.

“We are happy that Zinwa has relieved us of pressure and we really appreciate its understanding.”

Zinwa used to charge each farmer $25 per month for water usage.

Chief Sibasa said due to the payment plan they reached with Zinwa, the authority would no longer be disconnecting water to the irrigation.

He said farmers recorded good harvests due to the good rains that fell in the district this year.

“The problem we have now is where to sell our produce, otherwise this year we had a good harvest at the irrigation,” Chief Sibasa said.

The irrigation scheme spans about 360 hectares that accommodate 853 farmers in its eight sections. The irrigation scheme gets its water from Silalatshani Dam, which also supplies JZ Moyo High School, Colleen Bawn and Ekusileni Mission.

The dam is currently close to 100% full.