Japan and Zimbabwe have resumed economic cooperation with the Asian giant injecting US $15 million towards the maintenance of Nyakomba irrigation scheme in Nyanga, Manicaland Province.
The Japanese genuine bilateral grant aid to Zimbabwe had practically been suspended in the year 2000 mainly due to the prolonged economic deterioration in Zimbabwe. Deteriorating economic challenges consequently prevented the Zimbabwean government from duly implementing and maintaining projects to be funded by the government of Japan.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of exchange of notes and grant agreement for the Nyakomba irrigation scheme development project, Japanese Ambassador, Mr Yoshi Hiraishi said the event marks the first step toward normalizing the relationship between the two countries.
“Today’s signing therefore marks the resumption of our re-engagement of bilateral economic cooperation with Zimbabwe, which gives additional significance to this occasion.
“This is indeed a momentous occasion not only for the people of Nyakomba but also for the bi-lateral relations as a whole between our two countries. It can be marked as a realization of the resumption of substantive bilateral economic cooperation between Japan and Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Hiraishi.
The project which is set to be implemented in December this year will see farming being totally revolutionized as a result of all- year mixed cropping.
Ambassador Hiraishi also urged farmers to focus on cash crops.
“Farmers are encouraged to diversify their farming into cash crops such as chilli, paprika and tobacco for the export market,” he said.
The project which comes 15 years after the Japanese government had suspended aid to Zimbabwe aims at expanding appropriate agricultural land developed with necessary irrigation facilities in Nyakomba area, Nyanga District in Manicaland Province.
‘Through this grant aid it is expected that agricultural productivity in this area will be enormously improved and consequently contribute also to the nation-wide goal of increased food production and production of nutrition, which is the first pillar of the economic blueprint ZIMASSET as well as to realization of revitalizing agriculture and the Agro-processing value chain in the Ten Point Plan,” he said.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa applauded the Japanese’s efforts, which he says are critical in the build up to a normal relationship.
“I’m pleased that the Government of Japan has resumed support towards the development of Nyakomba irrigation scheme in Nyanga.
“The government of Zimbabwe is committed to full re-engagement with Japan, as well as, all our bilateral and multilateral partners,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Minister Chinamasa said the US $15 million grant will also help small holder farmers champion the ever-changing climate.
“The country’s agriculture productivity capacity has continuously been reliant on rain. Over the past years, agriculture productivity has been negatively affected by climate change and damaged infrastructure.
“The intervention by the government of Japan in the Agriculture sector will assist in reducing the adverse impact of climate change, restore damaged infrastructure as well developing new infrastructure,” he said.
The development of Nyakomba irrigation scheme is expected to directly benefit 861 small holder farmers.
Japanese Ambassador Mr Yoshi HiraishiPatrick Chinamasa