ZIRP turns 6 irrigation schemes into viable and sustainable business centers
UNOPS completed infrastructure works in irrigation schemes in 2022. Rehabilitation works included excavation of storm drains, canal de-silting and cleaning, canal embankment repairs, canal embankment backfilling, cana; construction, fencing, and installation of solar farms. Unlike many interventions in the schemes, ZIRP integrated infrastructure works with soft components of agronomy support for the farmers. Farmers have been trained on interseason crop pre-planting, crop rotation, safe use of chemicals, contract farming and market linkages. A total of 906 farmers have been trained so far. All these activities are now bearing fruit. Prior to ZIRP intervention, farmers used to keep some of their harvest to use as seed. There was no synchronisation of production in the schemes. Farm produce had no targetted markets. The productivity and profitability of the schemes has since been boosted significantly. The input and output market linkages have made the farmers resilient. “With chilli peppers, I harvest 100kg a week and earn $104 every week,” Senzeni
Makoni, a farmer at Gudyanga Scheme explains.
Processing and value addition at the schemes has improved the income of farmers. Previously farmers experienced huge losses for perishable products. As a result of all the training they have undergone, they have come up with innovative ideas to preserve their produce and minimize wastage. “We are processing dried tomatoes which we are selling and have also been trained on pulp making. We are also making dried vegetables and packaging our beans for retail”, said the chairman of Maunganidze Irrigation scheme. “We have also procured a maputi making machine to add value to our crops”, he added. The farmers have introduced resilient varieties and are making efforts to improve crop rotation so that they get the most out of their work. Collaboration with government stakeholders has been imperative for the success and sustainability of these irrigation projects. “ZIRP has really uplifted farmers in Manicaland and the results are clear, farmers are now getting so much out of their hard work as compared to the period before ZIRP, we will continue supporting these projects even beyond ZIRP to ensure sustainability”, said Mr Nathan Nkomo, Chief Director, Department of Civil Protection Zimbabwe.