A four-member delegation from the Smallholder Market Led Project (SMLP), a project funded by the International Fund for Agriculture in Eswatini has hailed Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Project (SIRP) for some of its interventions. The team, which visited project sites in November was led by its project coordinator, Robert Mabundza and comprised three sustainable agriculture officers, Thulasizwe Simelane responsible for a business development, Thabile Thabethe who specializes in horticultural production, marketing and value addition and Phila Mamba a specialist in bean production, climate smart agriculture and nutrition.
SIRP focal persons from the implementing agencies and Project Coordination Unit, accompanied the team which visited Cashel Valley and Musikavanhu Irrigation Schemes in Manicaland where they were shown key hole gardens, orange fleshed sweet potato vine multiplication as well as a cooking demonstration which show cased different recipes made from bio-fortified foods. In Musikavanhu, the delegation met with farmers who had ventured into the production of chillies. The 242 farmers had ventured into the deal where a private company, Kacholo supplied seed and provided an agronomist for the farmers. The farmers would in turn sell their product to Kacholo and were assured of a ready market for their crop.
The delegation also visited an aggregation centre within the scheme, where a group of farmers had organised themselves and utilised a structure funded by USADF where they bought various agricultural products from the farmers and then sold them to other bigger markets. This intervention featured among the lessons learnt for the Eswatini delegation as they considered adopting the intervention for SMLP.
The team also toured Banga Irrigation Scheme in Masvingo where they witnessed block production of different crops, lead farmer approach and the famer managed irrigation model which consists of different subcommittees. The delegation concluded their visit with a tour of Insukamini Irrigation Scheme in Midlands where they were able to see horticulture and maize production, solar driers and the multi-purpose post harvest centre.