Precious Manomano Herald Reporter
With the help of devolution funds, the Rural District Councils (RDCs) have embarked on a massive agricultural stimulus campaign to increase the productivity of rural farmers.
Provinces across the country have implemented life-changing projects that permeate all facets of life as part of the devolution revolution championed by President Mnangagwa.
This fits in with his aim to set in motion a development that will leave no one behind and that will also reach every corner of the country.
Devolution seeks to ensure that provinces use resources in their respective regions to have a GDP of more than US$3000, in accordance with the country’s 2013 constitution, which was given shape and life by the Second Republic.
In an interview, council authorities said devolution funds play a vital role in improving agriculture, although there are other notable infrastructural developments across the country.
Mhondoro Ngezi RDC planner, Sithole Timothy, said the municipality is in the process of drilling boreholes in the area to enable communities to engage in horticulture, which currently supports most of the villagers.
“Devolution funds are critical to improving people’s livelihoods. We do a lot of projects here to improve people’s lives.
“Horticulture is the most important agricultural project that sustains the communities. We have a budget of 32 boreholes and we are going to build two in each department. We are doing this to improve agriculture, which is a critical area in national food security,” he said.
Mutasa RDC Agricultural and Natural Resources Officer Kenneth Zenda said agriculture is critical in rural communities and so it needs to be transformed so that it benefits the communities.
He said devolution funds are helping communities get water for irrigation and building warehouses aimed at ensuring farmers’ produce is sold and kept in a safe place.
“We do a lot to help farmers. There are plans to build a warehouse for the farmers who sell their agricultural products along the road.
“Those people need a decent place to sell their products. We want farmers to have their crops centralized so that they are not short of middlemen.
“We also have a dairy market that is currently running and the municipality is helping the farmers with the help of devolution funds so that the Community Milk Collection Center is being built.
“Mutasa has many rivers and most of our farmers here do agricultural production in the Honde Valley using irrigation,” he said.
Mr Zenda also said that fish farming operations are a critical sector in which devolution funds will also be managed, adding that more than 500 farmers will join fish farming to support their families.
Nyaminyami RDC Environmentalist John Sikurukumwe said devolution funds are helping them drill boreholes and build smaller dams to improve fishing and agriculture in the area.
“Most of the funds went to road infrastructure, schools and clinics, but we have small-scale programs in agriculture, such as banana plantations.
“Municipalities do the work in collaboration with the municipality with the help of devolution funds, we drill boreholes and build small dams so that they can get water to grow their crops.
“Our farmers are trained in animal husbandry and we have partners who help us find markets,” he said.
National food self-sufficiency is a key goal of the government’s economic blueprint, which identifies food security and nutrition as the key drivers of economic recovery.
Devolution funds are changing the face of communities across the country.
Local governments are encouraged to use devolution funds for capital expenditures to increase investment and infrastructure development, with a view to achieving NDS1 and Vision 2030.
Devolution funds fill a social development gap that local authorities have been unable to fund due to low revenue collection and general incompetence, especially by MDC councils.
The Covid-19 outbreak disrupted economic activities in most communities and local authorities were not spared, with some municipalities not financing capital projects, including the construction of clinics.
However, the devolution agenda operationalized by the Second Republic has transformed communities, improving social services, including the construction of clinics, classrooms and the provision of clean water. As part of the government’s devolution agenda, part of the capital development budget is being transferred to the local authorities. The reasoning is that the communities have clear priorities for their area to develop.