The Sunday News
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
A NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation, Practical Action has rehabilitated four irrigation schemes and 15 gardens in seven wards in Gwanda to the tune of US$2,3 million as part of efforts to ensure food nutrition and security.
The project titled “Enhanced agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change through solar powered irrigations” started in October 2017 and is set to end in January next year.
Practical Action projects coordinator for Matabeleland South Mrs Melody Makumbe said the works which were done under the project included drilling of boreholes, installing solar powered water system, installing drip irrigation systems, rehabilitation of canals and developing other infrastructure. She said 4 100 people benefited from the project.
“We started the project in October 2017 after receiving funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to the tune of US$2,3 million. Under the programme we rehabilitated four irrigation schemes namely Sukwe Irrigation, Reinetsi Irrigation, Bopoma Irrigation, Silikwe Irrigation as well as 15 gardens in seven wards in Gwanda district four irrigation schemes and 15 gardens in seven wards in the district.
“The project was part of efforts to address food security and nutrition issues. A total of 919 households benefited from the project and these households have a total of 4 100 beneficiaries. The project is coming to an end in January next year and at the moment we are tying up loose ends and polishing up. One of the issues we are addressing now is strengthening marketing capacity of farmers to ensure they price their products well,” she said.
Mrs Makumbe said under the project they realised a huge gap in food production as the region is dry. She said farmers were struggling to access water resulting in food insecurity.
She said some of the irrigations had stopped working or were operating at low capacity as farmers did not have access to water.
“As an organisation, we realised that farmers were having a challenge in accessing water which resulted in food insecurity. Farmers were already working within these gardens and irrigations but they were operating at low capacity and they were using labour intensive methods to water their crops as some were collecting water from the dam using buckets. Some of the irrigation schemes had stopped operating. Our focus was therefore to improve their water supply.
“We also assisted the farmers with capacity building where we were equipping them with farming skills, crop selection and marketing skills. When we were installing the solar powered systems we didn’t do away with the diesel pumps that they were using but we rehabilitated them so that when it’s cloudy they can have a reliable water source,” she said.