The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr. Anxious Masuka has urged farmers at the recently rehabilitated Insukamini Irrigation Scheme in Midlands to embrace block irrigation in order to benefit from economies of scale. Dr Masuka was addressing farmers during a tour of the recently rehabilitated irrigation scheme in Gweru district, Midlands.
Minister Masuka also urged the 126 farmers at the scheme to work as a group as government pushed for the sustainable management of communal schemes. “We have introduced the new Vision 2030 Accelerator Model where we expect our farmers to run the scheme as a business. Production in this scheme must be informed by the demands of the market. In this regard, I urge other agencies in the government as well as private sector players to partner with farmers here in order to create linkages with the market.’’
Farmers at the scheme thanked SIRP for the revitalization of the scheme, which included the replacement of the dam outlet gate valve at the dam, repair of in-field canals as well as the reclamation of five hectares of the scheme through land levelling and repair of canals, rehabilitation of scheme access roads and the supply of siphons and check plates. The total investment put into the rehabilitation was US$85 488.70.
Chairperson of the scheme, Mollen Majasi thanked SIRP and its partners for the now modernized scheme which had seen farmers being able to access adequate water for irrigation. She said, “We thank the programme for rehabilitating our scheme as well as bringing various training courses that include Farming as Business. The Minister advised us to run the scheme as a business and we wish to say we embraced the concept which has enabled us to build better houses and send our children to school. We have also seen the impact of the Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) and couples now go to work in the fields as couples, plan together and share the proceeds without cheating each other.”
In addition to the rehabilitation of the water conveyancing system, the scheme also benefitted from a multi-purpose post-harvest centre erected by SIRP in order to stem post-harvest losses of produce. The infrastructure is equipped with state of the art 96.8m3 walk in cold room facility capable of storing a load of 2000kg of fruit and vegetables from a temperature of 280C to a temperature of 40C in 24 hours. Again, to ensure there is no power interruption, the pack-shed is solar powered and backed up by the grid. The investment value for the post harvest centre was US$122 023.06