A SIGH of relief could be heard from scores of villagers gathered at the handover ceremony of one of the several community boreholes drilled by a local company, Green Fuel, in Matikwa area near Chisumbanje on Tuesday.
Chisumbanje falls under climatic region five and naturally harvest yields of crops like maize are very minimal.
Besides the good soils suitable for the growing of sugar cane, villagers have been experiencing perennial droughts and as such were forced to barter their valuable livestock with maize as a mitigatory measure to the biting famine.
Besides their disgruntlement over land, compensation and other issues when Green Fuel came into a joint investment with Arda, villagers are set to immensely benefit from the investor’s community irrigation scheme.
Under the scheme villagers will receive 0,5 hectares of irrigated land where they will plant crops of their choice as many times as they would want throughout the year.
However, the bickering that rocked the ethanol production for the past two years has had a negative impact on the villagers, as they could not access the irrigated land and some were rendered jobless and hence food scarcity remained a challenge.
With just over four months after the ethanol plant resumed operations, signs of improvements on the community’s livelihood are clear.
“There is a very positive impact on people’s lives now and the future looks very bright,” Chipinge South legislator Enock Porusingazi said.
“We fall under climatic region five and our only hope lies in irrigation. We are blessed with the black soils which are fertile, but without water, it will be a repeat of the sad history of perennial famine in this area.
“The irrigation schemes on the main fields will definitely change our people’s lives. There are boreholes again drilled in each village.”
Currently Green Fuel produces an average of 200 000 litres of ethanol and plans are afoot to raise the daily capacity to 250 000.