Govt on irrigation resuscitation drive

Christopher Makaza

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement officials and other stakeholders who include farmer organisations, farmers, banks and research institutions are currently in Kadoma for a three day workshop to discuss on how best irrigation schemes  country-wide can be revived to increase production.

Speaking to Harare Post, Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Executive Director, Mr Paul Zacharia who is also in attendance said the on-going workshop was very important and that reviving the country`s irrigation schemes would assist the country to effectively fight the droughts being caused by continuous  global climatic changes.

“Government is in the process of reviving all irrigation schemes country-wide which are not functioning. This workshop is therefore important in the sense that stakeholders will share important ideas on how best the irrigation systems can be revived so that the nation can be food secure.

“Irrigation development is a strategic move in agriculture which allows all year round production and builds farmers’ resilience. I want to urge farmers to ensure sustainability of operations and embark on market driven production and not producing for the sake of it,” he said.

Last month Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) handed over the works that were supported at 14 rehabilitated irrigation schemes to 1 519 benefiting smallholder farmers in Masvingo Province. It marked the conclusion of the Smallholder Irrigation Programme (SIP) which was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to the tune of 6 Million Swiss Francs and implemented since December 2014.

The country is suffering from high vulnerability due to climate change and variation and the increased vulnerability comes at a time when agriculture is expected to propel the Zimbabwe’s economic development to being a middle income country by 2030.

 The country has been experiencing increased frequency of droughts and floods, particularly the El Nino and Cyclone Idai. This has affected the agriculture sector and has reduced production.