Gvt to initiate Smallholder Irrigation Revitalization Programme

Tendai Matunhu

Government through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is set to start the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme (SIRP) soon as they have received the much awaited finances from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Government has released a communiqué in which it said, “Government of Zimbabwe has received financing from IFAD, toward the cost of the Smallholder irrigation Revitalisation Programme.

“It intends to apply part of the proceeds to cover eligible payments under the contract for, Works for Rehabilitation of Canals, Hydraulic Structures in the Irrigation Projects of Exchange Kwekwe District of Midlands Province, Rupangwana/Fungai Chiredzi District of Masvingo Province and Sebasa Project Gwanda District of Matebeleland South Province,” read the communiqué.

The SIRP and the Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) have also invited sealed bids from interested and qualified bidders for the implementation of the contract.

SIRP aims at transforming low-performing irrigation schemes into fully functional ones, by helping efficient water management and low-cost operation and maintenance by Irrigation Water User Organisations (IWUO).

SIRP is designed to help drought-hit smallholder farmers to improve access to markets and fertilizers and adopt climate-smart agricultural practices to boost productivity so that they can generate sufficient revenues to defray the costs of operating and maintaining irrigation schemes.

Poor rural households are set to benefit from SIRP in the semi-arid zones in these provinces. It will improve productivity and climate resilient crop production under both in rain and irrigated conditions, through diversification of crops and increased adoption of improved varieties, combined with climate-smart agricultural practices and most importantly, enhanced access to markets.

In addition, the programme is set to improve the management of natural resources at the village level, with the inclusion of soil and water conservation in the catchment areas adjacent to the irrigation schemes.

In addition the programme will also allow rural households to achieve food and nutrition security and become resilient to the effects of climate change and economic shocks.