Wetland Restoration and utilization projects

Projects vision

Improving people’s livelihoods and sustainable management and utilization of wetlands.

Projects purpose

Rehabilitation, restoration and protection of wetlands and restoration and enhancing rural livelihoods through wise use of wetlands.

Projects components

  • Rehabilitation of degraded wetlands
  • Establishment of consolidated gardens
  • Bee keeping

Wetland protection and utilization projects

Maturure (Bikita district, Masvingo Province); Gokore (Shurugwi district, Midlands Province, Chirimudombo and Muvhami (Hurungwe and Makonde districts respectively, Mashonaland West);  Luseche (Hwange district, Matebeleland North), Songore wetland (Mashonaland East)

Project Beneficiaries

A total of 821  households are direct beneficiaries

Muvhami Protection and Utilisation Project: A wetland protection and utilisation success story.

Project Status

The upper part of the project is a protected 1.0 ha wetland. An unlined central canal drains the fenced upper wetland and runs right through the middle of the garden supplying it with water. It has small holding ponds at intervals were watering water is abstracted.

 The membership of the project increased from 79 to 93 over the reporting period. This indicates a 22.7 % increase in membership. Now a total 1.9 hectare out of 2.5 ha is under crop. Of the remaining area, 0.25 ha is the wetland buffer zone which is yet to be planted with sugar cane and bananas. The rest (0.35 ha) is either reserved for other members who are willing to join the project or is permanently inundated with water.

The dominant crops are leaf vegetables, tomatoes and sugar cane. The majority of stands are under the vegetables whose seeds were donated to the project by EMA.

Economic Assessment and Project Ownership

There is a ready market for the gardening produce at Chijaka, Alaska and Chinhoyi respectively. The community is already selling sugar cane from the garden at the Chijaka Market. The garden project members also sell their vegetables and tomatoes to the same market. They also sell different produce among themselves.

The project has an active coordinating committee and has established a project fund. This fund is used for day to day costs of running the project and for infrastructure maintenance.  The major source of this revenue is from individual plot holders’ contributions.  This is a strong indicator that the community has adopted the project and now fully owns it. Hence this project is community owned and sustainable even in the long run.

Ecological assessment

The wetland is a typical W3 wetland. The upper (north) margin of the wetland is marked with a thicket of big Ficus trees and Syzidium species whilst immediately below them there are sedges and guinea grasses. 

The wetland is house to a number of bird species, rabbits, reptiles, other small mammals, numerous insects and micro-organism. The wetland core is actually expanding outside the protected (fenced) area as can be witnessed in the photos below.

Stakeholder participation

The local AGRITEX Officer is assisting the community with appropriate horticulture farming methods. The project memberships also appreciate the help they are receiving from surrounding AGRITEX officers.

Current Challenges

The water from the wetland is not adequate to meet the demand for irrigation water during the hot dry months of September to November.  Plots located further down the irrigating canal may fail to receive adequate water for irrigating their vegetables.

Suggested Project Modification

We are currently looking at ways to supplement water sources for the garden during the hot months of September to November. We seek to do this by linking the nearby existing borehole to the project.  The plans for this intervention are now at an advanced stage.

Over and above the additional water supply, we are now adding value to the fascinating wetland protection component through introduction of bee keeping. This is meant to encourage the community to continue to safeguard the thickening wetland vegetation.

Conclusion and Recommendation

This project is one of EMA’s model wetland protection and utilization projects. Continuous addition of necessary components has greatly improved the livelihood options for the local communities. We hope there will be replication, with or without financial assistance from the Agency, of such projects in a number of wetlands scattered throughout the province.