Farmers at the recently rehabilitated Hamamavhaire Irrigation Scheme in Chirumanzu district of the Midlands Province have been urged to visit other communal irrigation schemes in the country to learn from them. This was said by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka at the commissioning of the scheme in April.
Minister Masuka said “ As you can see, each farmer has a 1 hectare block and these are managed differently, with different expectations and different expertise. What we would like to do, with government and its partners having spent US$373 000 rehabilitating the scheme is to see the scheme being able to transform these schemes by linking them the ARDA managers as we implement the new Vision 2030 Accelerator Model. We want the farmers to be able to access resources for the scheme, starting with the winter wheat programme. Under the Presidential Inputs programme. This will be kickstarted by the farmers visiting Bubi- Lupane Irrigation Scheme in Matabeleland North to see other accomplished schemes which have adopted the block irrigation model.”
The Minister added that, “Farmers will retain the land; they will retain ownership of the product but we want them to move to a higher production and productivity level under the Vision 2030 Accelerator Model.”
In addition to maize, wheat and sugar beans, farmers also grow chilli. One of the farmers Mr Jairos Muzita said, “ I am making good money from my plot here where I am cultivating chilli. I have already picked chilli from here three times. I have harvested about 240 kilograms of the crop. The off taker pays about 60 cents a kilogram and I expect to harvest 800kg”
Mr Muzita said the rehabilitation of the scheme had provided much needed employment and an income for his family. “This irrigation is my industry. For my family to get food and for the children to go school, I make my money from this plot. I leave my home in the morning like those people employed in other industries and I go back home in the evening. From this plot, I think I make more money than many people who live in the cities”
The scheme also benefited from a one hectare nutrition garden, powered with solar and fitted with three 5000 litre tanks and 12 taps. The garden will benefit 65 households. The facility was put up at a cost of US$25 000. SIRP also set up a one hectare goat project for the farmers in the greater scheme area at a cost of US$140 000. The paddock was fitted with a borehole, water troughs, two units with spray races and goat housing. SIRP