Farmers, extension officers and provincial facilitators from irrigation schemes in Matabeleland South , Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland visited Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme in Lupaane on a look and learn visit. The visit was meant to afford the 48 member delegation an opportunity to learn from their counterparts at the 180 hectare Bubi Lupane Scheme with 90 benecifiaries who have adopted block irrigation, working with an ARDA manager under government’s V30 accelerator model. Farmers and extension officers also shared notes on varieties, irrigation management, conservation farming methods being used at the scheme on the Kalahari soils at the scheme.
Farmers were joined by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Chief Executive Officer, Tinotenda Mhiko and other officials from the parastatal while SIRP Project Coordinator, Odreck Mukorera led the SIRP delegation. In its presentation, ARDA explained the benefits of block irrigation in terms of ensuring scheme vaiability, profitability, governance, accessing markets and loans The authority also explained benefits of uniform cropping calendars which ensure economics of scale and allayed fears from farmers that it would take over irrigation schemes from farmers.
One of the farmers who visited the scheme, Mrs Dorcas Nyoni Masendu who is the chairperson for Hamamavhaire Scheme in Midlands said ” As Hamamavhaire, we learned the importance of planning in agriculture, that is, ensuring that we have a market for our products before we plant. We also appreciated the importance of running schemes as a business where we are able to culculate the investment, expenses and profits like what we have witnessed here in Lupane. Previously we had not bothered ourselves with those details but we now appreciate their importance”
Another farmer from Romsley said ” I learned the importance of unity here at Bubi Lupane. I also noted that the soils here are different from where we come from in Romsley where we are about to establish an irrigation scheme. We have better soils but what is immediately evident is that farmers here at Bubi Lupane put in a lot of effort and within a short space of time, they receive dividends, which I cannot make as an individual in my home”
SIRP project coordinator, Odreck Mukorera challenged the farmers to put into practice all that they learned at Bubi Lupane Irrigation Scheme. This, he said would help bring transformation to the irrigation schemes and ensure viability of the schemes.