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Zimbabwe: Farmers Call for Micro-Irrigation

Farmers have called on the Government to increase investment in micro-irrigation facilities for smallholder farmers to ensure household and national food security.

The calls come as the prolonged dry spell has affected most rain-fed crops this season.

In most areas, the late planted maize is now a write off.

Goromonzi farmer Mr Lazarus Chiroodza said his crop which is under irrigation was doing well.

“We thank the Government for availing irrigation facilities. Now that this season has been a bad one we see the difference with those farmers without irrigation,” he said.

Mr Boniface Chitate said because of climate change, rainfall patterns were no longer predictable and it was risky to depend on rain-fed agriculture.

“The prolonged dry spell has hit hard on rain-fed crops. The situation could have been different if most farmers had access to irrigation facilities.

“Some of us have been at the land for many years and we cannot be spoon-fed all the time.

“We ask for loan facilities where we can get irrigation equipment and pay in instalments,” he said.

Mrs Tecla Soko of Chabwino Farm said she was banking on her Pfumvudza/Intwasa crops.

“We have a water source near our farm, but we do not have irrigation equipment. If we get an intervention we will be able to increase production even during winter,” she said.

Agritex officer for Ward 7 Goromonzi, Ms Eugenia Nyakudya said Pfumvudza crops were doing well.

“The Pfumvudza way of holing harvested enough water to sustain crops. Farmers applied mulch and manure and this reduced runoff and conserved moisture. Lots of runoff leads to leaching of nutrients and crops suffer. We are encouraging farmers to continue practising Pfumvudza/Intwasa for higher yields,” she said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Trust Mrs Depinah Nkomo said most women farmers did not have irrigation facilities and urged the Government to invest in micro irrigation facilities.

“If every woman can have one hectare under irrigation, we will be able to boost production of earnings from agriculture. We have the land and zeal to farm, but lack of irrigation facilities is affecting us.

“With irrigation we can grow different types of crops throughout the year and increase profits,” she said.

The Government through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is currently implementing various facilities some of which started 2020 and are earmarked for completion in whole or in part in time of the 2021-22 farming season.

These include the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme targeting irrigation rehabilitation and development of at least 200 hectares in every district implemented annually over a period of 10 years.

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