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SENATE HANSARD 17 SEPTEMBER 2020 VOL 29 NO 49
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday 17th September, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam President for affording me this chance to ask a question. I will direct my question to the Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation. Minister, can you inform this House about the status of our local football stadiums. Are they ready to host the national team when it is due to play Algeria?
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORTS, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. COVENTRY): Yes, Hon. Senator, our national stadiums have been renovated; that is the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields. We are only left with two outstanding issues at the National Stadium, that is the procurement of the buffet seats and the electronic ticketing which is now being procured through the tendering process.
This past weekend, there was an inspection team that has been visiting the two stadiums, the one in Barbourfields in Bulawayo and the other one at the National Sports Stadium. They are the inspection team that writes the report on behalf of Zimbabwe that they then send to CAF. Once they have shared that document with me, we will attach the letters of two outstanding procurements, the buffet seating and the electronic ticketing which we will send to CAF for it to make the decisions.
However, at the moment, it is looking very positive to have our national team playing, the grounds are looking very good in terms of all the other aspects that CAF had wanted upgraded, including the lighting, the changing rooms, the medical room etcetera.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: In the unlikely event that CAF does not approve of our stadia, has the Government made any contingency plans to ensure that the National team and FC Platinum that will be representing this country in the champions league will find alternative stadiums to use?
HON. COVENTRY: Confederation of African Football (CAF) has not spoken or sent any reference to any of the stakeholders that the resumption of play will be within this year. So, we are at this point in time, very positive that we will be approved for our games to go on. If at any point in the next few weeks we see that CAF is not going to be positive with the upgrade that has been done, we could then start to look at other things but until we have confirmation as to when these games will take off, there is no reason for us to not be confident in the upgrades that we have done to pass CAF inspections.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. Hon. Minster, it is Government policy that all retailers must display their commodities in both foreign and local currencies. However, that does not seem to be the case, can you explain when this will start functioning.
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): It is important that the consumer is fully informed on what currency they must use, whether it is USD or ZWL. So, it is important that we ensure that the retailer complies with the requirements. So, as to whether it is Government policy; it is important that we must ensure the consumer is provided with the right information and this falls under the Consumer Protection Act. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: With regards to the Government policy, is there a monitoring process that is going on to make sure that when laws are put in place, consumers’ rights are not violated.
*HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA: Thank you for the question. It is the Government’s desire that the consumer pays a price that equates the goods they would have purchased. Therefore, that is the reason why we have the Consumer Protection Act which is due to be launched soon. This was done to ensure that, for example, when you get into a shop and take goods from the shelf, there must be an expiry date, price and it must not be labeled “do not return if not in good state’.
So, My Ministry actually has a team which is going around operating under the umbrella of an organ called the Trade Measures. This team is found in each province. They move around with a scale to, for example, measure a 500 ml bottle to check if it is correct. This team can just approach any shop without notice. They will be having their own 500 ml to see if those in the shop are really 500 ml. So, this group is in all provinces and giving us reports of what is happening. It is true that there are shop keepers that are doing that dubious act. If you are caught in the act of selling things against the law and if you are giving people a product that does not satisfy them, you will be arrested because it is an act against the law.
*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Madam President. I want to ask the Hon. Minister what rate the business people are using because you find in some situations there are USD but again in the local currency, you find a rate of Z$120.00 but the official is Z$83.00. We do not know what you are doing as a Minister to help protect the majority of Zimbabweans?
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): Thank you very much for your question. As human beings, we find people who are naughty and people who do acts that are amusing. If the official rate of the day is Z$90 and others are offering Z$120.00, that is against the law but this monitoring group that I have mentioned is going around the provinces. If they find such acts going on, they go to that particular shop. They are not getting into each and every shop but what I promise is that we are working in all the provinces.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I am requesting Hon. Senators to connect to your tablets through the links sent to your e-mails. Those who want to contribute should do so using your tablets to enable those outside to follow the proceedings. Would you please comply? Yesterday I encouraged you to continue using gadgets so that we get used to them. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: Thank you Madam President for this opportunity that you have given me. I am very happy with the responses that we are getting from the Minister. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister where she said that there are groups going around in provinces. The issue of eco-cash was good to have it on radio or on television. Businessmen are refusing to sell their products or groceries using eco-cash. If you are given Z$5000.00 to go and buy groceries, businessmen will still refuse to sell their products in Z$ using eco-cash.
*THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): I would like to thank you once again for the question. It is a big problem in the rural areas since businessmen want cash. At times they refuse to take in Z$ saying they want USD. There is an organisation for retailers but it is mainly for urban people – they do not have many members in the rural areas. What has been mentioned is good if it is broadcast on radio or even on television for people to be enlightened in the rural areas so that if our grandmothers have money on eco-cash, they are able to buy groceries using eco-cash. We are going to work on it with the Minister of Information to have it on radio and television so that people are educated. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Agriculture. In the rural areas, cotton farmers are crying. Cotton is being bought in exchange for groceries whereas the farmers would have suffered during the farming process and yet when it comes to selling someone gets groceries, just bars of soap and cooking oil. My question is - what is the cost of cotton? When we look at tobacco farmers, they get their money in USD, how about cotton? Cotton farmers are getting soap as payment – is that Government law? Thank you Madam President.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. for the question that she has asked. It is a very good question that is being asked in different parts of the country by rural farmers. The situation for cotton farmers in the rural areas - what is happening is that when the season started for selling cotton, there was a problem; there was a liquidity challenge in our fiscus.
There was an agreement between farmers and the organisation that facilitates the buying and selling of cotton. The agreement was that if there is a need they can be given groceries as you have mentioned but this was between cotton organisations and farmers. Some are giving different suggestions. The point was - if someone wanted a grinding mill, would she/he be able to have that in exchange for the cotton but it was a different agreement. As we speak right now, some have grinding mills and others have irrigation equipment. that is not Government policy to say if farmers sell their cotton they get groceries instead of cash. It was simply an agreement between organisations and farmers and not that it is a Government policy. Thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Madam President. I wanted to know because farmers are suffering a lot. For example, where I come from in Mwenezi, farmers are getting groceries only. What exactly is Government saying? Is it Government law to say farmers should get groceries? What is the exact price of cotton? At times you get poor quality soap bars.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen., I think this has been outlined very clearly. The response was very clear. This has been mentioned.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Those who do not have an agreement, will they get a clear price to say how much it is.
*HON KARORO: Yes, we may laugh in this House but this is a very important issue. I come from a constituency where farmers are cotton growers and they want the same clarity on that situation. The issue at hand is, we had a meeting with the Ministry of Finance looking at the problems that cotton farmers are coming across. It was agreed that if nothing is done, cotton farmers will refuse to continue farming cotton.
The Finance Ministry promised us that the problems that they faced were being rectified and it two weeks they promised that all this will be fixed and they will see an improvement. When Ecocash was closed, farmers were encouraged to open to FCA accounts so that they could be assisted accordingly. The banks went to the rural areas because farmers could not travel to towns, so they helped them open accounts. The banks promised that in two weeks time farmers would start getting their monies.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement. What is the Government’s plan to restore clean water in our cities?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I thank Hon. Mpofu for that question which is very critical because water is life especially in times Covid-19. Water comes under the Ministry of Agriculture and they are here. They will be able to answer.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): As I indicated Madam President we are going to issue out a Ministerial Statement in this House today. That question I am sure is adequately catered for.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. My question is on the issue of inputs. When we took agro loans from CBZ we had an agreement that we signed for. The interest that is being charged by the banks compared to what the farmers got after harvesting was too much for us farmers to go to the land. Farmers are having a problem in communicating with the banks. Farmers are having a problem because they cannot apply for a top up let alone make a fresh application. How can Government help us because the interests that are being charged to farmers shot up unexpectedly? What should farmers do and we need clarity on that.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for that question. I would want to say it was the first time that the Command Agriculture Programme was handed over to the banks for them to coordinate and facilitate the programme. You should bear with us because this was our first time handing over to the banks because it is a learning curve for us as a Ministry. Farmers raised that concern to say we do not understand the deductions and the interests and we engaged the banks. We mentioned the problems that farmers were facing from the banks. The answer that we got from the banks was that nothing had changed as far as interests were concerned.
The problem is that farmers just sign the forms so that they get inputs. When it came to reading the terms and conditions of what they were getting from banks, very few of the farmers took time to read. They just signed for the sake of inputs. What we agreed is that farmers should be encouraged to look at the contracts they were having with banks so that they fully understand what they were agreeing to so, that they would not be shocked later when these deductions or interest are availed to them.
Farmers need to be protected and what Government is doing is that farmers should get an agreement or communication in form of an agreement to say this is how much we are going to deduct from you so that they know exactly and fully understand the contracts that they are signing so that farmers are no shocked at the amounts being deducted because a lot of farmers are crying out. Farmers should be protected - inasmuch as they need inputs, they also need to be protected.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you for that clarity. Now that you have fully explained to us, the farming season is upon us and farners need seed for farming. What then should we do? Last time there was drought and farmers were not able to get inputs. What exactly is our position? Both of us, the farmers and the banks, have leant; so what is the way forward? What is our position? Farmers want to know what we are going to do now that the farming season is upon us. Is there guarantee that we are going to get inputs? People should be able to continue farming.
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): Thank you Madam President. I would like to mention the problems that banks are facing and they said we should meet as farmers and banks. The money that is being used by banks to fund these programmes, though we did not have much rainfall as we anticipated, others never took anything to GMB because the problem is we have people who are crying foul when it comes to the deductions that banks took from them. We have a problem also that other farmers amongst those who were funded never took anything to the GMB and that has caused a very big problem to the banks. How do they fund other new farmers this farming season?
We should encourage farmers to take their proceeds to GMB. Banks are giving conditions to say those who are going to be considered for Command Agriculture should have taken their maize to GMB, if not then there is a problem.
Then we come to small holder farmers. They do not have a problem. They fall under the Presidential Programme of getting inputs. There is not much of a problem that side. The inputs they have started receiving under that programme, the Presidential Programme. We have given you some papers so that you understand how the programme works. We are trying to fix all those languages so that all farmers in their respective languages understand fully what the Government wants to achieve. When it comes to Presidential Inputs, the programme has started but for Pfumvudza programme, we are only being given now.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, you are not going into issues you will explain in your Ministerial Statement
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. My question is on the issue of Pfumvudza that he was about to talk about. Nonetheless, I would like to thank him for the work that he has done. His Pfumvudza programme is good but my question is we have the elderly who are not able to do what they explained to us. Would those people be able to get inputs because of their age? They have a problem in implementing what they were taught. Right now, because of low rainfall, they are not able to sell anything.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The Hon. Minister will explain in his statement to the House.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Your livestock scheme, as Government, can you ask yourself whether this is benefiting women at all? Are women benefiting from this programme?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Thank you Madam President. When we are looking at our population amongst farmers, 54% is women if I am not mistaken. The programme does favour women, it actually benefits women but as a Ministry, we have a policy to help women as well as youths. In short, it does help women. Thank you.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Can you elaborate?
*HON. HARITATOS: Thank you Madam President. This is an ongoing policy programme. It did not start today, it is ongoing so it will help women. Thank you.
HON. SEN. NTABENI: Madam President, my question goes to the Leader of Government Business. I stand to be corrected if I have made a mistake. Government drilled boreholes in the rural areas. There was no casing done to those boreholes. After drilling, the walls collapsed. We went to DDF and they could not assist us. So what is the solution?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Can you put that question in writing so that the responsible Minister can explain on that specific issue.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKOMBE: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Leader of the House or the Minister of Health and Child Care. What we want to know is, does Government have a programme of building district hospitals in every district across the country because as we speak right now, Buhera does not have such kind of an institution despite its large population. This is the only place where there are no farms since colonial rule. We do not have a hospital of such stature.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: This is a question where we expect you Hon. Senator to bring beforehand. The Minister may have an answer.
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Madam President. Government’s aim is that each province has a district hospital and because of COVID-19, it was Government’s intention to make sure that every province, every area has a district hospital so that people are assisted. In terms of policy, it is Government’s intention to say each and every district should be having a hospital. Specifically for Buhera, they can write straight to the Ministry of Health and Child Care to hear what exactly is their position with regard to that situation. Thank you.
THE HON PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think you have understood that you should get a written question so that when the Minister of Health comes to this House, he is able to fully explain about your situation as Buhera.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President for giving me such an opportunity. I will direct my question to the Leader of the House though it is specifically to do with the Ministry of Environment, Tourism, Climate Change and Hospitality Industry. Looking at the problem of veld fires overseas, when they start, there is no specific timeline. My question is, what measures has the Government put in place with regard to veld fires because we have problems in rural areas? We are getting information from people to say there are fires. People come from as far as Mhangura to Chinhoyi to report these fires and they know the individuals who start fires but it seems there is no Act to deal with such acts by rowdy people. Is it possible that centres like Mutorashanga and Mhangura be in a position to have people in office to look at such situations and what happens to those people who would have started fires?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): The Environmental Management Agency which falls under the Ministry of Environment has the responsible to look at such issues of veld fires. It is Government’s policy that forests be protected and people should not start veld fires as they are destructive to a lot of natural resources. So, we will discuss with the Minister of Environment especially considering this dry season we are in so that he can take measures to have culprits arrested because causing veld fires is a crime. So it is an issue of re-enforcement. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question goes to the Leader of the House but first, I would like to congratulate her on the new position – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - What has Government done with regard to the disabled looking at the spread and effects of COVID-19? What have they done is as far as informing this group of people?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I would like to thank all Hon. Senators for the congratulatory message. In response to her question on COVID-19 and the disabled, the Government sprung into action as soon as the problem was made known to Government. A taskforce was put in place to inform people on how we can fight the pandemic. Even those living with disability in Zimbabwe, our first action was to put programmes on television and we also published pamphlets for those using Braille with the assistance of Midlands State University which also published books. We also use various artists with different skills to inform the disabled. They do sign language and everything since it is important that everyone is catered for when it comes to informing people about this pandemic. The positive results that we are seeing now are the results of Government’s actions. Government is acting upon it, everyone is being informed. We should wash our hands, temperature should be checked and masks should be worn. That is the only way we can win against this COVID-19 pandemic.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: My question goes to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans and in her absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House. What measures are being taken by Government to assist those war veterans in the rural areas who are not able to come into town so that they can be vetted? Where they are, they do not have anything to get them to the vetting venues. So, what is the Government position in helping such war veterans?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): The Hon. Senator has asked a very important question that is close to my heart. Those non-combatants who went to Chimoio, Botswana or Zambia, time has come for them to be looked at. They made it possible for people to win the battle against colonial rule. They played a vital role during war. Looking at this Bill, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans will look at everyone who should go for vetting. It is known indeed that there are war veterans who are not able to come to vetting venues. It is written and the policy is that they will go everywhere especially the Chimbwidos and Mujibhas. It is easy if the process could be done in the rural areas. It is going to be easy for you as a Chief to relay that information to the Ministry to say there are people who are not able to come to town for vetting so that they can be assisted. It is known indeed that there are war veterans who are not able to come to vetting venues in towns and cities. When this was put down in writing, this issue was well known and the policy is that all areas will be visited for the purposes of vetting. It is even easy to vet ex-detainees and war collaborators in rural areas where they were operating from and where there are many people who knew about them. As the Chief, if you are in your areas, you know that there are those who did not get this message or there is no one to do the vetting. It is important to pass that information to the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans. We hope that all these war veterans will be vetted and receive what they are supposed to benefit from. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to ask the criteria that are used during vetting. This is because sometimes we realise that someone who joined the war of liberation in the 70s is assigned to vet someone who went to war in 1960. How is this done? I thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I encourage you to put that question in writing. It is very specific and requires an in-depth knowledge of the whole process. I think asking the Leader of Government Business to attend to that question is really going beyond what she can do. Please put it in writing and you will be adequately answered by the relevant Minister.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to congratulate Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa for being appointed the Leader of the House. We now have a female Leader of the House – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – meaning that women are coming of age and we have the wisdom.
I wanted to ask the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education but in his absence, let me ask the Leader of the House. I thank the Government that it has allowed examination classes to go back to school and write their examinations. However, the problem is that boarding schools were being used as quarantine centres for Covid 19. For this reason, parents are not sure as to whether these boarding schools are safe for their children to begin to live in these same places. Are these places clean to an extent that children will not be infected by this pandemic as these children will be living and sleeping in the same rooms where those who were quarantined were also living? Can you assure this House and the nation at large on whether these places are clean and safe for our children to live in without being infected by the disease? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you President of the Senate. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe. Thank you for your congratulatory message especially focusing on women issues. I also give thanks to all Hon. Senators – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Let me say, the COVID 19 pandemic brought so many challenges which are painful and have led to children being absent from school. I have grandchildren who keep on complaining and asking me to go and tell the Hon. President to open schools because they are feeling the pain of staying at home.
For this reason, the Government took a position to allow examination classes to resume their studies and write examinations starting with June exams which have been undertaken. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education worked very hard to travel around the country in order to engage all stakeholders like teachers, parents, teachers’ unions and so on so that they all understand what will be happening. This enables a smooth procedure on the whole process. In June, examinations were written without any problems. Currently, we are preparing for examinations for Grade Seven, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level to be conducted well so that we advance forward.
You will note that if Ordinary Level examinations are not conducted this year, it means we will be having two batches of Ordinary Level classes next year including Grade ones. So, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education continued to engage all stakeholders to ensure that this is done.
It is true that when borders were closed, the President indicated that our children who were abroad should be allowed to come back home without any problems. So our children travelled back home from all different countries around the world and schools were used as quarantine centres. However, a deadline was set for preparations to be made in terms of cleaning the schools so that children could go back to school. Deep disinfection was done in all those schools which were previously being used as quarantine centres. It is Government policy to ensure that children and their teachers are well taken care of and protected when they go back to school. Money amounting to $600 million was released in order to buy protective clothing like masks and disinfectants to ensure that our teachers’ and children’s lives are preserved.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President. Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Leader of the House. Thank you Hon. Minister. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and in his absence, to the Leader of the House. Mr. President, in Mashonaland West, we have encountered a problem where a family got trapped in a mine; a father, his two children and two grandchildren. There are five people trapped in this mine shaft. I would like to ask if this mine shaft is documented at law or it is on of those shafts being used by illegal artisanal miners? As I speak, these people are still trapped in the mine. The rescue team which has been assigned to rassist the trapped family are failing to do so as the mine shaft continues to fall inside the moment they reach where the trapped miners are located. I thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Moeketsi but again, that is a very specific question which requires intricate knowledge about the issue of the mine you are talking about; the papers, the circumstances and so on. I recommend that you put that question in writing so that next week or when we sit again, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development will be able to respond with sufficient knowledge and detail to that question. I thank you.
*HON. TSOMONDO: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs but I cannot see him. So I direct my question to the Leader of the House. I am thankful and happy to congratulate you Hon. Minister Mutsvangwa for your newly appointed post by the President. Thank you. My question is - we have the neighbourhood watch who assist at the roadblock and so forth. They are not paid for their job. What is the Government policy on giving them COVID-19 allowances that others are getting?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Tsomondo. Again, that is a very specific question which requires you to put it in writing so that you can get a competent answer. I am sure the Leader of the House will not deal sufficiently with that question.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
ADVANCEMENT OF SPORTS
- HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation to explain to the House:
- a) the measures being taken by the Ministry to advance sports in the country; and
- b) how the Ministry identifies talented youths in various sporting disciplines thereby promoting sport as a source of employment for the youths.
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. COVENTRY): Thank you Mr. President and thank you to the Hon. Senator for the question. There are two measures being taken by the Ministry to advance sport in the country. Recently, we had two principles for two separate Bills being passed by Cabinet. We are now working on the draft Bill with the Attorney General’s Office. The first one is the Sport Integrity Bill which we will look at, being able to identify ways and areas in which to help with better good governance in terms of structures in sport. We will also be talking about being able to safeguard our athletes from any form of abuse. What will also be detailed in that Bill will be details around anti-doping and how to prevent doping in sport.
The second Bill on principles that were passed by Cabinet this week was to amend and repeal the Sports and Recreation Commission Act and the Wrestling and Boxing Control Act which still does not allow for women to box. We are upgrading all these Bills and we are working on the drafts now. That will allow us to have a more unified structure with our National Sports Associations where they will have to sit at the table. There will be a national sports strategy put into place led by this new structure and that will clearly clarify roles and responsibilities of all the specific sporting structures in the country.
In terms of the Ministry being able to identify youth in the various sporting disciplines and promoting youth as a source of employment, the Ministry is taking on a project to resurrect community centres across the country. We would like to have attained 40 of these centres by the end of the year. Unfortunately with COVID, we are a little bit behind but we are still pushing forward to try and get at least one to two per province for this year completed. These centres will have a holistic overview of the Ministry where there will be space for youth activities, sport activities and art activities. In that Act, we will work with National Associations of Sport to identify talent from a very young age and be able to figure out how to then work with that young talent as they grow up and how to get them into the specific sporting club systems. Those are two areas that we are focussing on and two very specific goals that we have as the Ministry for identifying talent. Thank you Mr. President.
IMPLICATIONS OF NOT MEETING THE FEDERATION OF INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (FIFA)
- HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation to explain to the House the implications of failing to meet the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) deadline of refurbishing the country’s football stadiums.
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. CONVENTRY): Thank you Mr. President. The question is not necessarily written in the right way. I am not sure if Hon. Sen. Tongogara would like to rewrite it. We have no implications right now that we are facing from FIFA. FIFA is the international federation for soccer. Right now, the refurbishments were requested from CAF which is the continental association. FIFA has a different set of guidelines of which some of those do follow into CAF but right now the refurbishments and the deadline we are trying to meet is from CAF. We are on track with meeting those deadlines. We are resubmitting another form to show the updates that have been given so far and that will be sent to CAF for them to evaluate us. Thank you Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I am advised that the Minister Agriculture, Water and Climate is going to give a Ministerial Statement. I now recognise the Hon. Minister.
STATE OF WATER SUPPLY SOURCES
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I am going to issue out a Ministerial Statement ....
Hon. Minister Karoro stood up to make a Ministerial Statement without using a gadget.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order Hon. Minister, I am going to request you to speak in front of a gadget so that Hon. Members who are within the precincts of Parliament can follow your Statement, so perhaps with some kindness from Hon. Minister Mudyiwa, you can lend your fellow Minister your gadget.
THE HON. DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I am going to issue out a Ministerial Statement on the state of water supply sources in urban areas. Mr. President, I will request Hon. Senators to take note of any issues that need clarification or questions so that after this Ministerial statement, they can seek clarification. After I have finished this Statement Mr. President, as per our request, we have another Ministerial Statement on Pfumvudza, since Hon. Senators have been raising a lot of questions on this programme. So Hon. Haritatos will issue another Ministerial Statement on Pfumvudza.
Mr. President, the Ministry of Lands, Agricultural, Water and Rural Resettlement has a mandate to manage water resources for the State and to ensure sustainable development and equitable distribution of the country’s water resources to all Zimbabweans at an affordable price. This is buttressed by Section 77 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water. The country has experienced two consecutive years of drought due to climate change which has hampered water availability for both urban and rural communities.
Predictions of a better 2020/21 rainfall season have been given by the Meteorological Services Department and this should see a substantial improvement in the current water supply situation. However, even under these circumstances, precautionary measures are continuously required. Cooperation and collaboration between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and Local Authorities is, therefore, an imperative in addressing the current water challenges faced in the rural and urban communities, now and into the future.
Mr. President, ZINWA currently operates and maintains over 530 water supply stations across the country; mainly serving small towns, growth points, service centres, Police and Defence Establishments, Prisons, schools and hospitals. These 530 stations supply 31.5 million cubic metres per annum (93%) against the total demand of 34 million cubic metres per annum of the 32 urban local authorities ZINWA supplies 20. As a water management authority, ZINWA also assists local authorities in the discharge of their functions under the Rural District Councils Act [Chapter 29:13] and the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] with regard to the development and management of water resources in areas under their jurisdiction and in particular, the provision of potable water and the disposal of waste water in accordance to ZINWA Act 20:25 Section 5 (e). ZINWA is responsible for providing raw water to all sectors as well as supplying treated water to the small local authorities, which do not have the capacity to do so.
Local Authorities such as Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo, Chipinge, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Chegutu, Chinhoyi, Rusape, Plumtree, among others, have been servicing their areas of jurisdiction with water and sanitation facilities for quite some time now, with ZINWA coming in to assist during crisis periods, at the request of Central Government. This was the case during the cholera outbreak in 2008/09. Local Authorities such as Beitbridge, Gwanda and Victoria Falls have suggested the take-over of water supply services roles from ZINWA and there is current consideration of these requests. A guiding framework for such recurring requests and operational modalities has been developed.
Water Supply Status and Challenges
Mr. President, besides the drought-induced challenge of unavailability of raw water, urban water supply in most cities is facing additional challenges due to limited conveyance, pumping and treatment capacities, shortage of chemicals as well as power outages. The City of Bulawayo, has mainly been drawing water from three sources, Upper Ncema, Lower Ncema and Mzingwane - until they were very low and decommissioned whilst the biggest dams -Insiza, Inyankuni and Mtshabezi- remain with substantial amounts of water which could last the City up to11 months at 155 Mega litres (ML) per day. It is unfortunate that the City of Bulawayo has made limited investments in improving abstraction capacity which could have assisted in addressing the water challenges.
Similarly, the City of Gweru has not been able to abstract water from Amapongokwe Dam for many years due to a pump breakdown at the dam. This has limited the City to abstract water from Gwenoro Dam only leading to the declining water levels in the dam currently at 26.5% full. The City of Harare has not been abstracting water from Manyame Dam for the past 10 years due to a broken-down lift pump at Morton Jaffray until December 2019 when the Government of Zimbabwe intervened. The Ministry is concerned that high water losses in most of the local authorities is due to leakages from old distribution systems. The losses range between 40% to 60% for most authorities and we would implore respective local authorities to address this issue urgently.
Gweru water sources are currently at 33% full and can supply the City for approximately 9 months. There is a need for the local authority to manage demand, improve pumping from Amapongokwe Dam and restrict water supply to 45ML per day. As for the medium to long term strategy, the Gwenoro Dam wall has to be raised by 9 metres and a new water source at Lubongo Dam should be constructed to meet the growing demand.
Karoi has five months supply left from its combined water from its two supply dams, Blockey and Karoi dams that are at 25% full. There is a need for water demand management by the local authority and for Blockley Dam to be raised, in the medium term.
With the current level of 41% full in Shurugwi Dam, Shurugwi has eight months supply left. Strategies include managing demand, abstracting from disused mine shafts and, in the long-term to abstract water from proposed Lubongo Dam.
With water levels at 20% full from Chesa Dam, Mt Darwin has only one and half months supply left. In the short term the centre can draw water from Ruya River as releases can be made from upstream dams such as Lilistock. However, the Chesa dam is very small and cannot last the centre for six months, even if it fills during the rainfall season, hence an additional raw water source is required urgently.
Mutawatawa water levels stand at 20% full of supply with only less than two months of water supply left. The situation also requires pumping from Ruya River.
Mr. President, I will now focus on centres with moderate water supplies. Bulawayo water sources are at 22% full, which can last the city for 11 months. Some of the efforts being made to address the water supply for Bulawayo include the following: - When Government intervened in March 2020, Bulawayo was pumping 3 mega litres a day from Nyamandlovu Aquifer.
Through the Government support, an additional seven mega litres per day was yielded from Nyamandlovu Aquifer to add to Bulawayo’s demand of 155 mega litres per day. The intervention added another 10 mega litres per day. Rehabilitation of 20 boreholes by ZINWA at Epping Forest is ongoing and an additional 10 mega litres per day to the city. A total of 42 boreholes are now operating at the aquifer. The system was also stabilised through the major rehabilitation of the 522 mm and 400 mm and still pumping mains to minimise water leakages and bursts.
Introduction of booster stations by the Government along the Mtshabezi pipeline, that is without duplicating the pipeline to increase the daily pumping capacity to 25 mega litres from 17 mega litres per day.
Government plans are also underway to increase raw water pumping from Insiza and Inyankuni Dams by addressing the pumping bottlenecks along the two lines. Meanwhile, Gwayi-Shangani Dam has received a disbursement of ZWL 550 million from Government and the target remains to complete the dam by December 2021. This will provide a lasting solution to the water supply challenges to Bulawayo and the region.
Mr. President, commendable progress from 37 mega litres per day to 79 mega litres per day through ZINWA intervention has been made in Bulawayo, much more needs to be done and time will tell.
Kwekwe – with a combined 25% full from the supply dams has seven months supply left at 31mega litres per day, even though there is enough supply to next run off season. Greenham Dam needs to be constructed in the medium terms.
Chegutu – Chegutu Town with a combined 50% full of supply dams has 12 months supply left at 23 mega litres per day which is enough supply to next run off season.
Gwanda – with a combined 62% full of supply dams has 11 months supply left at 20 mega litres per day and getting water supply augmentation from Mtshabezi Dam. The completion of Tuli-Manyange Dam will improve the water security for Gwanda.
Plumtree has 12 months supply left at 13 mega litres per day from its source which is at 34% as is enough to next run off season. However, additional sources need to be developed in the long term.
Chivhu – it has 11 months of supply at 9 mega litres a day left from Chikomba dam which is 53% full in supply dams, which is enough supply to next run off season. Furthermore, Chivhu Dam is expected to be completed by December 2021 to enhance water security for the town.
Mr. President, Chipinge’s water source, Bangazaan Dam is at 98% full and will last the centre for the next 13 months at 8 mega litres per day.
Mutoko’s Nyadire Dam at 53% full has 6 months supply left at 4 mega litres per day. However, there is need to monitor demand. In the long term, a new water source is required.
Murehwa water source is currently at 85% full and can supply the centre for at least 17 months at 4 mega litres per day.
Mvurwi’s Pembi Dam is at 58% full and has 7 months supply left at 5, 5 mega litres per day. However, there is significant base flow which is currently flowing into the dam from the perennial river feeding the dam. More water is also available from the nearby Eastwards Dam which can be easily constructed and functional in two months.
Rushinga with 50% full in supply dams has 17 months supply left at 3 mega litres which is enough to supply to next run off season.
Insukamini within 21% full in supply dams has five months supply left at 4 mega litres per day.
Mr. President, I will now focus on centres with relatively safe water supply. Greater Harare source are left with 18 months of water supply at 800 mega litres per day. There is a need for rehabilitation of distribution network to minimize losses which are up to 60%. There is also a need to improve management of effluent discharges into the water sources estimated at 145 mega litres per day. Construction of Kunzvi and Musami Dam by 2022 and 2025 respectively is required to augment water to the city by 600 mega litres per day.
Mutare City has 14 months at 97 mega litres per day of water supply left from the Odzani Dams which is being augmented through pumping from the Pungwe River. Osborne Dam can also supply the city if a treatment plant is constructed. The existing sources are adequate up to 2030.
Kadoma has 27 months left, there is need to monitor demand on annual basis. However, the existing resources are adequate up to 2030.
Beitbridge – although Beitbridge has 3 plus months left, the town has a huge water supply back up from Zhovhe Dam which is at 58,8% full.
Marondera is more than 30 months left at 13 mega litres per day of raw water supplies. The sources are enough to supply to the city up to 2030.
Mr. President, Rusape town has more than 30 months left at 9 mega litres per day. There is need to maintain adequate reserves for the town when releasing water for irrigation from Rusape Dam.
Bindura, Shamva and Glendale – they have 12 months left from their sources. Mwenje and Acadia augmented by Masembura Dam which is at 60% full. The Bindura Dam is also under construction and is expected to be completed by 2021.
Masvingo and Chiredzi – these have more than 30 months left at 30 mega litres per day though there is a need to maintain adequate reserves for the town when releasing water for irrigation from Lake Mutirikwi. The construction of the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam has lessened the burdern on Lake Mutirikwi for water releases to the low veld. This has allowed storage in Mutirikwi to be mainly reserved for Masvingo Town.
Concession, Sadza, Wedza, Buhera, Murambinda, Inyati Mine, Inyati Center, Bikita, Nyika, Zvishavane, Mberengwa, Mashava and Zaka have more than 30 months left of raw water supply from their sources. There is a need to maintain adequate reserves for the rural service centres when releasing water for irrigation.
Mr. President, Gutu and Mpandawana Growth Centre currently has 23 months left at two mega litres per day from their sources.
I will now focus on borehole rehabilitation. The cumulative number of boreholes rehabilitated since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic is 3 355 against a target of 9 800. The numbers of non-functional boreholes continue to increase due to new breakdowns and drying up water sources. This programme has been supported largely by cooperating partners under the rural WASH projects which ended last year although low costs sustainability measures are ongoing. More resources are required to sustain this vital programme and the release of the requested Z$277 million from Treasury should ensure that all the non-functional boreholes in the country are repaired.
Borehole Drilling for COVID-19 and Drought Relief
The total number of new drilled boreholes during the COVID-19 stands at 224 boreholes out of a target of 394 boreholes. The reported numbers of water points drying up are increasing leading to the demand in new boreholes. The increased demand of boreholes calls for the need to strengthen ZINWA through the allocation of requisite financial resources including acquisition of advanced rigs with capabilities for both air and mud drilling as the water table had greatly receded. Treasury has disbursed Z$20 million to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for the drilling of 80 boreholes in the most urgent needed schools in order to assist with their reopening.
ZINWA and DDF are leading the drilling efforts by the Government with ZINWA covering three provinces and DDF the rest. Deployment has been made this week and the intention is to complete by end of November, 2020. Other interventions for COVID-19; so for 40 piped water schemes were rehabilitated by Government during the COVID-19 period across the eight rural provinces.
In conclusion Mr. President, we have entered the most precarious phase water wise, being the driest phase of the year and following two years of successive droughts. While we continue the hard work to improve the water supply, we look forward to a predictable better rain season, we must continue to use available water sparingly and corroboratively, we will win. I thank you Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Minister. I think you can take note of the clarifications which you want. We might as well go to the second ministerial statement on Pfumvudza and then we will get clarifications at once at the end of the statement from the Minister.
CLIMATE-PROOFED PRESIDENTIAL INPUTS PROGRAMME FOR THE 2020/21 SEASON (PFUMVUDZA)
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS):
- Background and introduction
- Speaker Sir, the Pfumvudza Programme has been adopted by the Government as a measure to address the problems of low productivity, low production and low profitability of farming which continue to negatively affect the food security situation in the country. Because of the low productivity and low production, the country has become a perennial net importer of cereal grains amounting to USD800 million annually. This, increases pressure on the fiscus to source foreign currency for grain importation, which could be channeled to other productive sectors of the economy, if we produced sufficient amounts for our country. The Pfumvudza concept is an attempt to reverse this insalubrious state of affairs.
- The low productivity has been caused by a number of factors, among them poor agronomic practices, poor soils, the impact of climate change and failure to approach agriculture from a business perspective by both farmers and our extension system. Climate change impacts are characterised by poor rainfall seasons, prolonged mid-season dry spells, very high temperatures during the growing season and the early cessation of the rains. Thus, the adoption of the Pfumvudza concept, which is based on conservation agriculture principles, will help climate-proof agricultural production, and in particular the food production sub-sector.
- The adoption of the Pfumvudza concept also addresses other production related issues. As the concept applies conservation agriculture principles, it is one way of reducing soil loss (soil erosion) in our arable areas. It also assists farmers to increase productivity, thus getting higher yields from small areas.
- Speaker Sir, the Pfumvudza programme targets particularly the smallholder farmers who are most vulnerable to the calamities and vagaries of climate change.
- The Pfumvudza concept aims at ensuring food, nutrition and livelihood security at household level. This Pfumvudza Programme, is the flagship programme in the implementation of our Government’s Agriculture Recovery Plan. The programme requires that each farmer establishes three plots: two plots with cereal crops (maize and/or traditional grains), one of which will provide for the farmers’ food self-sufficiency, and the production from the second plot will be sold to GMB to contribute to the National Strategic Grain Reserves and raise household income. In the process, we are also commercialiSing smallholder farming in Zimbabwe. On the third plot, farmers in the high potential areas will receive soyabean seed, while these in the low potential areas will receive sunflower seed that the farmer can sell-off to earn income.
- Under the Pfumvudza Programme, the Government will provide, through the Presidential Inputs Programme, inputs to 8 million smallholder farmers who are all expected to have done holing out of their plots and mulch collection in preparation for the season by end of September 2020.
- Each household is supported with a standard input package to produce one tonne of cereals and 0.2 tonnes of oil seeds (sunflower or soyabean). Expected total output shall, therefore, be 1.8 million tonnes of cereals and 360 000 tonnes of oil seed.
- This model intends to address household food security as well as the commercialisation of smallholder farming in Zimbabwe.
- The inputs will be issued in a package that provides seeds, agricultural lime, basal fertilizer (1x50kg bag), top dressing (1x50kg bag) and Fall Armyworm control pesticides.
- Programme Targets
- Targets have been set for Provinces based on their household populations. These targets have been communicated to Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution. It, therefore, follows that each Province will produce at least 250 000 tonnes of cereals and a corresponding 45 000 tonnes of oil seeds. The national production is expected to be 1.8 million MT of cereals and 360 000MT of oil seeds, both sufficient to meet human consumption requirements for a year.
- Progress on Implementation of Pfumvudza Programme
- All the 5 294 Agricultural Extension Workers and Agricultural Extension Supervisors across all provinces have been trained on the concept.
- A total of 3 255 378 farmers (1 483 195 males, 1 772 183 females) have so far been trained by the extension workers as at 4 September, 2020 and the training of farmers is a continuing programme.
- Extension workers are expected to Train, Track and Monitor the farmers until harvest. This is dubbed the TTM Extension Service Approach. So far 525 439 households have prepared their Pfumvudza Farmer training and establishment of Pfumvudza plots by the farmers is work in progress and we are targeting over 1.8 million households by October 2020.
- Soil samples taken for analysis stand at 43 635 as at 4 September, 2020 of which 13 756 samples have been analysed.
- Timelines of Operations
- The key preparatory activities for Pfumvudza (holing out and mulch collection should have been done in July and August). We urge farmers who have not done so to expeditiously work on this before the end of September in readiness to plant with the first planting rains.
- The distribution of inputs has started and the anticipation is that this should be completed before end of October 2020.
- Expected Programme Impacts
5.1 Increased productivity and production (at least one tonne of grain from each household)
5.2 Household and national food self-sufficiency plus surplus.
- Reduced impacts of drought.
- Livelihoods improvements.
- Programme Publicity
- Series of radio, T.V and digital media programmes are being aired nationally and are ongoing
- Pamphlets, videos, information disks have been produced
- Each school of the 9 000 rural schools should establish 10 plots of Pfumvudza.
- TTM Approach, each extension officer is given a target to train, track and monitor at least 350 households.
- Engagement of political and traditional leadership, civil society and other partners has been initiated to harmoniSe approach and ensure successful implementation.
- The tertiary institutions within the Ministry have also been engaged to set up demonstration plots that can be used for learning purposes by farmer groups.
- Each Agricultural Extension Worker will establish a Pfumvudza demonstration plot in his/her working area and is given a target to train, track and monitor at least 350 households (no upper limits).
- Way forward
- Farmers who have not started are being encouraged to start holing out and mulch collection and have their plots ready before the rains.
- Soil sampling and analysis is being vigorously pursued across the country.
- The Pfumvudza Programme, like all other agricultural programmes, requires a robust and a well-capacitated extension provision system for technical training, tracking and monitoring. Through support from His Excellency, the President Dr E.D Mnangagwa, a total of 5 000 motor-bikes will be availed to frontline extension staff. Delivery of these has started with 414 having been delivered to provinces as at 4 September, 2020. Training of Agricultural Extension Workers in motor-cycle riding is ongoing with 284 so far trained and 139 tested with 129 passing the test. The other batches of motor cycles are being shipped into the country.
- Additionally, an agriculture-wide robust and cost-efficient Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS) shall be launched to assist with area and yield monitoring from December 2020 onwards.
- With these interventions and a predicted better rainfall season, we expect to morph our way out of the perennial food insecurity situation. I thank you, Mr. President Sir.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to get clarification from the Ministerial Statements which have just been presented by the two Ministers. Before I start, it will be unjust if I would not thank the Ministers for bringing out such clear and progressive programmes and I hope we will be able to follow it up.
My first point of clarification is on the water situation. It is quite a public secret that Harare has not been having adequate water for a long period. We see that it is classified under the safe zones. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that there is performance and delivery of water to places like Harare where we are adequate but we actually have no adequate water. Unfortunately, this has impacted negatively on the performance of the economy in general because we have health related issues and all those things which come with it.
I find the Pfumvudza Programme very progressive and quite possible to implement. Like some of the programmes which we initiate as a Government, what is the Ministry going to do? Are we going to have a monitoring mechanism so that we track as we go on rather than to track after because we want it to be a success/ Is there a mechanism in place to make sure that there are set targets for each extension worker and if they fail to get those targets, there is timeous intervention so that we will at least manage to harness from the season where we start to implement this. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I just have two things that need clarification. Kunzvi Dam has been on the cards for so many years and I just want to know how far we have gone with preparations so that we can see something happening? On your report, I did not hear properly, you did not say anything about Zambezi Water Project which was started some years ago but until now nothing is happening.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Looking at the Pfumvudza Programme, it requires a lot of mulch. Right now our fields are dry. How are people in rural areas going to participate in this programme because it is dry everywhere? How is information being transmitted to people in rural areas so that they get to know?
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I would like to thank our Ministers for giving us the Ministerial Statements. The Minister said there are two sectors that are working flat out to provide water, that is, ZINWA and DDF. What is Government’s programme to repair rural boreholes because they are the ones that are down? I did not hear that from the Ministerial Statement.
Secondly, Mt Darwin has a water problem. What measure does Government have to draw water from Runya River to the growth point because that is the only source of water? I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President. The other issue was raised by Sen. Chimbudzi regarding rural areas, but I would like to add on something. I did not get anything concerning ZINWA because ZINWA is giving water rights to commercial farmers, especially the white commercial farmers. We have a problem with water of which the resource is running down at the moment yet they are giving rights to farmers who are drawing that water. What is their programme on protecting smallholder farmers, especially the A1 farmers and those in the rural areas? The water is not enough to sustain the small projects being carried out by these people after giving out water rights to huge companies or people who are very rich already who can be able to draw all that water thereby leaving no water for the poor and struggling people. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I would like to thank the Ministers of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement for the Pfumvudza Programme which they have launched. I understand a soil analysis was carried out but from this paper, all the holes that were dug are supposed to have lime applied in them. So I would like to find out what sort of tests were carried out that require that all this soil be limed because it means all the crops in the end will have to be limed.
I also did not see from this programme most important traditional grains like ground nuts in this pamphlet because it can be used for oil or peanut butter. I do not know what is happening. Thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I would like to thank the Ministers for giving us this important update on agriculture. I really would like to seek clarification. They talked about a lot of dams but they did not give us information on the water levels in Kariba because that is where we generate electricity and it is also used for irrigation. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to ask the Minister. He spoke about water and he said the water levels are very low at the moment. Indeed, looking at a dam in Karoi that supplies the town with water, we once referred to that dam here in the Senate; we talked about siltation of that dam but we did not get a response. I would like to know what is Government’s programme in terms of desiltation so that the dams can be able to be restored to capacity. At the moment, what is happening is that there is more mud than water so much that the silt can be as high as half a metre. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: The question that was asked is the one that I also wanted to find out because I did not hear anything about desiltation which is caused especially by gold panners. They are causing desiltation especially in many dams so much that most of the dams are at low levels because of siltation. If you look at Mazowe Dam, it is now dry - everywhere including Jumbo. It is because it is silted. We are saying Government should quickly desilt those dams before the onset of the rain season. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. GUMPO: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to commend Government for these projects, the first one being on water and the second one on food security. My question to the Minister is with regards to food security. How many tonnes is Pfumvudza going to give us and add to food security?
HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I would like to commend the Ministers for elaborating on Pfumvudza and the water problem. I heard the Minister referring to Buhera. He referred to Mnyathi Dam. That dam is now dry. I visited the dam recently. People from Murambinda and surrounding areas no longer have water rights now; they have to fetch water from Buhera South. Even hospitals do not have water.
Secondly, the boreholes in Buhera are no longer working. People are running around looking for water and digging very deep wells to fetch water. So I kindly ask that Buhera gets water. I also would like to ask that Munyathi dam be desilted before the rain season otherwise the whole area will become dry again.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to make a follow up on the question raised by Chief Ntabeni. There was no casing for boreholes that were sunk. I would want to find the response to that because those boreholes are collapsing since they do not having casing and for a long time have not been working. I would want to find out when that programme can start because those boreholes restore the dignity of the chief who received them.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): Mr. President, I want to acknowledge the type of attentive listening that was proferred by the Hon. Members. It just goes to show that our leaders are concerned with the developments in the agriculture sector and I really appreciate that. I will take questions to do with water and my colleague will deal with those to do with Pfumvudza.
Hon. Mavetera, thank you so much for the compliments on the two programmes that our Ministry is doing. In your question, you wanted to seek clarification on why Harare has been placed under the safe zone yet there is no water delivery in the suburbs. We placed Harare on the safe zone in terms of the water source, not the supply side. In terms of the water sources, it really belongs to the safe zone. Why there is no water supply for such a long time is because of the conveyance system. What we are saying as a Ministry is, we are urging all authorities to make sure the issue of conveyance infrastructure is paid attention to. If you look at some of the infrastructure, it has been in place for the past 30 or 40 years and it was meant to cater for a very small population.
Now that the population has grown and more suburbs have been developed but we are still using the same conveyance systems, it means the water will bein short supply. So, as Government, we are working with all authorities to make sure they revamp the water conveyance systems. I am sure most of the questions that have been raised have something to do with what Government is doing in such scenarios where there is water but the conveyance system is not coping with the growing population.
Hon. Sen. Chinake, you wanted to know what Government is doing on the Zambezi Water Project. Thank you so much for that question. I want to assure you that Government is doing a lot and this is a project that will put an end to the water challenges that are being faced, not only in Bulawayo but the whole of Matebeleland region. There are some logistical challenges that are being resolved at Government and partner level because there is a partner from the region who has indicated that they have the capacity to complete the building of the dam.
Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi, you talked about broken down boreholes and like we have indicated, ZINWA and DDF are working round the clock to make sure that we increase the number of boreholes in the affected areas. For now, what I urge you to do is maybe to approach the provincial DDF heads so that they can do something because they have been empowered with the resources and everything they need to make sure they respond to water needs at provincial levels.
You were also worried about the shortage in water supply. The response goes back to the conveyance system. The local authority needs to revamp the water conveyance infrastructure. From the boreholes, the water levels are okay. They are not very bad but it is the conveyance system that needs to be looked at.
I did not get the name but the Hon. Senator talked about siltation in Karoi Dam and there were also other members who echoed the same sentiments on the alarming levels of siltation in their dams. What Government is doing is to scoop, to de-silt the dams and our target is that, not all dams maybe scooped but we want to make sure that we scoop all dams before the onset of the rains so that we take advantage of the normal to above rains that have been predicted by the Meteorological Department. All those with dams that have been silted, expect some work from DDF and Government.
Hon. Sen. Hungwe, you echoed the same sentiments and were also worried about siltation. I am happy you also proffered a suggestion to say we need to scoop all the dams before the onset of the rains and we have taken note of that. Hon. Sen. Rambanepasi, you talked about the broken down boreholes and that there is no water in Buhera, and people are going to the rivers to dig out wells. The response is the same as to Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi.
Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe, you wanted to know Government’s position on those boreholes that were drilled and were never cased. To be honest Mr. President, I am hearing of this for the first time. I think something was wrong there because honestly, our experts cannot come to your areas, dig boreholes and not case them. I want to assure and promise this House that we will make some investigations into this and some serious consequences will befall those people who did that because it was surely a waste of resources. You cannot go to an area, drill a borehole and never case it. Obviously, it will collapse. So, I am promising Hon. Chief Makumbe and those that have been affected to approach our Ministry as we also want to hear more regarding that.
Mr. President, I want to thank you. Most of the questions were repetitions but I think I have tried to answer your questions. I assure and promise this House that we will make some investigations into this and some serious consequences will befall those people who did that – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – because it was surely a waste of resources. You cannot go to an area, drill a borehole and never case it, obviously it will collapse. I am promising Hon. Chiefs, those who have been affected and had boreholes drilled at their homesteads and were never cased to approach our Ministry. We also want to hear more regarding that programme. Mr. President, I think most of the questions were actually repetitive. I think I have tried to answer your questions. I thank you.
An Hon. Senator having stood up for a supplementary question.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: No, there are no supplementary questions. These are not questions, they are just clarifications. I think your issue of the borehole has been noted, you raised that initially during the question time. Hon. Minister, I urge you to follow that issue up of boreholes which were not cased.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Thank you Hon. President. I would also like to thank Hon. Senators for such great and in-depth questions as follow ups. It really shows the seriousness of both ministerial statements that have been made and we are grateful to you. The only way forward is to have a united front as we did today.
Hon. President, the question that came from Hon. Mavetera is a very important one because it brought up the issue that yes, we may have a policy in place but is it actually being implemented. So that is equivalent to someone learning at the university and knowing everything, acquiring a degree on paper but when it gets to practice, they cannot practise. This is a major challenge and I am happy that it was brought up because one of the first things that we looked at was the monitoring systems that we have in place.
What we are doing is; I want to read what I have got here. In terms of extension workers, I mentioned in my statement the Train, Track and Monitor (TTM), it is in two parts. The extension workers have their responsibility and we as the Ministry at the national level have our responsibility. While they train, track and monitor - we track, monitor and evaluate. The evaluation is critical Hon. President Sir because there is also life after Pfumvudza. We also want to ensure that we implement and evaluate at the end of the day.
I am happy to tell you that the mechanisms that we put in place dictate that every Monday morning in our senior management meetings, we get these results. It is not that we have trained 534 000, but what have you trained last week, what is the percentage increase? We must always have a reference point. Whilst the numbers always look fantastic, it may have changed by two people, so have we really done anything in seven days? No. Our mechanisms with all the three ministers involved will be part of the design I believe we have. However, like all the designs, it is done by humans and were not perfect and we can only learn from there. Certainly, I believe what we have put in place, I am confident that it will cut out that void, so to speak. Training is always constant but we are certainly implementing and watching.
The question on mulching is actually very disappointing Hon. President Sir. I am also from Mashonaland West as the Hon. Senator is and it is very disappointing to see our people burning. The whole province is burning. I am happy to say when I go to the Southern regional of the country, we do not have that. I am not too sure what is required from us, maybe it is an education thing and as leaders we need to go to the people and talk to them more because it is sad. The Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and parts of Manicaland and Midlands are blessed with better rainfall. If we feel for example that we have too much hay, do not burn it, let us bale it and send it to the Southern region.
It is a sad thing that she mentioned and it affects us in our Pfumvudza programme because part of our strategy to ensure the effectiveness is not only the holing but the mulching. Mulching is critical for two major reasons Hon. President Sir; the first reason is to retain the moisture. So, if you tour around, you will see the Pfumvudza programmes and the water that could have been poured in two or three weeks will be visible in the soils, you dig a little bit and you will feel it. So, without that mulching, it is risking that form of benefit that we are supposed to get and that is the climate proofing that we are talking about. Yes, the holing we do not want to disturb the soils but the critical component of Pfumvudza is actually the mulching. It also helps with the suppression of weed germination and if we do not have that, it causes problems with weed germination.
We are trying to educate our people in terms of the importance of mulching. There are many other ways of mulching, but I just want to read a list which I quickly wrote down. What is important on mulching is that it has to be organic and we cannot put anything artificial. We have got compost, straw, saw dust, debris, wood shavings – if we have got carpenters in the areas, we can go and ask them for the wood shavings, it helps. Manure - as long as it is organic will certainly help, cotton ginning waste, if there are ginneries since our countries grows a lot of cotton. If there are ginneries close by, we can also ask them for the waste. To them, you are doing them a favour because they throw it away in any case. So we can use that as mulching. The other thing that hopefully can also help is not affected by fires are tree leaves, they can be used for mulching. My hope is that at least one of those can be available so that it is a successful project. However, Hon. President, we need to educate our people in terms of the importance of not burning seed. It is a sad thing that we are seeing in this country unfortunately.
I will turn to the question regarding soil analysis. Thank you very much for picking this up. Hon. President Sir, what is critical with soil analysis is to find out the pH of our soil. We have gone a long time of continuously growing the same thing and we have damaged a lot of our soils around the country. So what lime does is to correct the pH The pH in the soil is important because the acidity in the soil – if it is too acidic it counters our fertilizer. It does not matter how much fertilizer you put, this soil is countering it and it actually kills the fertilizer and you do not have germination and you have other effects, possibly even lower yields or a failed crop at some stage. The challenge comes now in terms of the fact that, we have 1.8 million households. Each household is three plots. Ideally, yes, you would want to test at least one plot but if you just look at the grand scope of things, 1.8 million is quite overwhelming Hon. President.
What we are saying is we have got a database and we will split and do as many as possible but the districts that we are doing, we are taking note of the farmers. Over the next few seasons we should have done the full 1.8 million but I will not stand up here and lie to you that we will do the 1.8 million overnight. We do not have the resources and equipment to test 1.8 million samples in such a short time. At least if we can get close to 100 000 if not more in season 1 because it is an ongoing process and we can continue until we do get to the 1.8 million. If we get to 1.8 million households, we start again because soils do change and we are also conditioning those soils through this conservation that we are doing as well as the application of lime. These things will change and we have to continuously bring it in. I am happy that this question was asked.
The second part of the question has to do with traditional grains. There are three plots on every Pfumvudza Plot. There are two that are under ceareals, which are your maize and all traditional grains. Our traditional grains are critical in the sense that it is an insurance package. We know that traditional grains, if done properly, will yield two to three tons per hectare regardless of whether there is drought or a good season. If it is a good season, it will yield us more but in a bad time, if done properly will yield two to three tones. That is our insurance package. What we have done is to split the country into regions as we know, the natural regions. We know that certain regions do not do so well with maize. We are pushing the traditional grains to those regions that are not so prone to good rainfall, high rainfall. Of course, there is the aspect of the oil seed. On the cereal crops there is maize, sorghum or pearl millet. These are 0.06 ha each and there is two of those plots for the cereal.
As I mentioned in my Statement, one remains as household security for the food security that you keep at your farm. The other yield that comes from 0.06 ha of whatever grain you sell to GMB feeds into our strategic grain reserves. In addition to that, the third plot has the oil seed of 0.06 ha and again the regions that have better rainfall are given soya beans and the regions that do not have such good rainfall are given sunflower. That is a cash crop and that is where you can pay your school fees, buy uniforms and so on.
Traditional grains are critical for our country. I do not want to overstress that point. I think we all know that maize came through slave trade. Maize is not a crop that was Zimbabwean, so to speak, but traditional grains. I think madzimambo edu will agree with me that traditional grains are what we all are supposed to be growing in our country. It is unfortunate that we have turned to maize. If we had remained with traditional grains, I believe we would not have a lot of the medical issues that we have today, the high blood pressure and so on because the traditional grains are very good for our bodies.
The last question that was on my side Mr. President Sir is from Hon. Sen. Gumpo regarding the targets. He may have missed it in my Statement - but basically, in terms of cereal crops we are targeting at least one metric tonne per household. These two plots, combined will give us 0.12 ha. We are hoping if everything is followed well, that we should get one metric tonne of cereal crop which will give us 1.8 million metric tonnes of cereals. In addition to that, we will have 360 thousand metric tonnes of oil seeds. I want the House to understand the importance of this because as a country we consume – I am talking even with adding 500 thousand metric tonnes for strategic grain reserves, we consume about 2 to 2.1 million metric tonnes.
So just with the Pfumvudza programme itself – I am not talking about Command and about private sector, just the Pfumvudza programme will almost make us self sufficient if not make self sufficient. If you look at oil seeds, we only consume between 260 thousand to 300 thousand metric tonnes. If this is successful, we will start producing a surplus of oil seeds in our country. Pfumvudza is not a small thing. It is such a critical component of food security for our nation. Whatever outcomes from Command and any other programme is now more of a bonus to us.
In the coming seasons Mr. President, I doubt that we will have to import even a grain of any crop that we need be it maize, be it wheat. I believe that this will be the last season that we have to import. It will save us a lot of money and that money will be able to go to the productive sector. It will help our industry and help our Ministry of Health so that our hospitals and everything. It is a downward exercise. Mr. President, I am very grateful for the questions and I thank you all for listening. I thank you.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA), the Senate adjourned at Five minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020.