SIRP rehabilitated schemes top National Irrigation Competitions

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SIRP rehabilitated schemes top National Irrigation Competitions

  • Posted by: Precious Nkomo
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Irrigation schemes rehabilitated under the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme shone in the national irrigation competitions for 2023. Banga Irrigation Scheme, located in Chivi district of Masvingo was voted the best irrigation scheme in the country, beating 450 other irrigation schemes in the country. The 62 hectare irrigation scheme, with 294 beneficiaries grows maize, wheat and groundnuts and has embraced the concept of block farming. The scheme has become a centre of excellence, hosting field days attended by other schemes, schools and other stakeholders within the agricultural sector. The scheme received US$10 000 and an assortment of inputs. The scheme received training in Good Agricultural Practices, Farming as a Business, Operations and Maintenance, Scheme Governance, Gender and Nutrition. The scheme has bought a grinding mill from the proceeds of its crop and has embarked on a poultry project in order augment its income. The scheme also benefitted from a fishing pond which is providing fish for nutrition and additional income.
Sebasa Irrigation Scheme of Gwanda District was ranked first in Matabeleland South Province. The scheme was also awarded fourth prize in the national competitions. The 65 hectare irrigation scheme, with a membership of 97, cultivates maize, wheat , sugar beans and groundnuts. Farmers have also started a goat rearing centre, which is a climate smart agriculture initiative. Scheme chairperson Mr Limakatso Sibanda said the rehabilitation of the scheme had enabled farmers to pay school fees for their children after selling their crops. The farmers had also managed to buy a peanut butter making machine enabling them to add value to their product.
The guest of honour at the event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Professor Obert Jiri who was represented by the Midlands Provincial Director, Mrs Medeline Magwenzi said, “Irrigation is a critical component of agricultural production and a key driver of economic growth and development. These remarkable individuals and organisations have embraced the strategies of optimizing water use, implementing efficient irrigation technologies and promoting responsible water use. They have set new benchmarks for sustainable irrigation and serve as an inspiration for others to follow.”
In Midlands Province, Biri Irrigation Scheme of Mberengwa District beat 42 other irrigation schemes in Midlands to claim the first prize. The 117hectare irrigation scheme with 280 farmers was commissioned in September 2023. Farmers at the scheme cultivated maize, wheat, beans, paprika and horticulture products. Following the SIRP intervention through the Rural Poor Stimus Facility (RPSF) in 2021, farmers had also diversified into the productions of sanitisers and bath soaps in order to widen their income base.
Biri Irrigation scheme chairperson, Mr Tinomuonga Hove said the irrigation scheme had changed their livelihoods as farmers had managed to buy livestock, carts and wheelbarrows from the proceeds of their agricultural activities.

Author: Precious Nkomo

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