Farmers in Burma Valley, Manicaland are set to profit from the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) after Government availed funds for the construction of Nyamataga Bridge which is currently on 83 percent completion.
The old bridge was affected by siltation and the 2019 Cyclone Idai leaving farmers, most of them banana, avocado and pear growers, being cut off from their traditional markets.
During a tour of the bridge on Thursday, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Felix Mhona expressed delight at the progress of the bridge construction saying infrastructure development was at the centre of the Second Republic.
“We are glad that the contractor, Bitumen World is on schedule, and the bridge is on 83 percent completion. This means that our farmers and surrounding communities will not have any challenges this rainy season. Resuscitating connectivity is also one of the core values of Government, so the bridge will ensure that people have free movement,” said Minister Mhona.
The local traditional leader, Headman Kaswa expressed gratitude to the Government for the construction of the bridge which he said had caused sleepless nights to the farmers including the giant banana commercial producer, Matanuska which is headquartered in the area.
“We have been reading in the newspapers about road construction projects in other areas, but this time we can bear testimony that the New Dispensation is indeed modernising rural areas. We are part of the beneficiaries of this initiative and this is one of the greatest developments the Government has ever initiated in my area since independence. I would like to thank the President for this development,” said Headman Kaswa.
Matanuska commercial director, Mr Richard Chiwandire said their operations had been affected by the poor state of the bridge. He said the company had suffered big losses over the past few years as they could not easily transport their produce to the markets.
“We are really grateful to Government for its timely intervention through the ERRP. Once the bridge has been completed, our produce will reach the market without any hassles,” said Mr Chiwandire.
Local farmers in the area who are in, out grower contract programme with the Matanuska, thanked Government for its swift response to the community’s request. They said without this timely intervention, this year would have been a total disaster in transporting their horticultural produce to the market.
The bridge is being constructed to the tune of US$600 000, and is one of the many projects being implemented by Government under the ERRP in the province. These construction projects are in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1).