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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Paprika production cited as game changer in agriculture sector

Story by Gay Matambo

FARMERS at Tshovani Irrigation Scheme in Chiredzi district have embraced paprika production, which has emerged as a viable economic empowerment tool.

More than 10 hectares of the scheme were put under paprika production in October last year, with farmers saying the cash crop is not only a source of income, but also a sustainable development tool.

“I put paprika on a piece of land which is half a hectare and I managed to harvest kilograms. I got close to US$1 000 and I’m able to send my grandchildren to school. I’m also able to take care of myself without asking for help from my children,” said one of the farmers.

Another added, “We usually grow maize, traditional grains, and beans, but this time some of us tried out paprika production and we have seen that it is a cash crop that has high returns.”

With Chiredzi district, which is under climatic region five and is characterised by erratic rainfall patterns, paprika production has been viewed as a mitigatory measure against climate change.

The scheme’s Agritex extension officer Ms Ruwuyu said, “We have been experiencing water challenges at the scheme, and because of climate change we did not get enough rain hence we introduced paprika production at our scheme because it is a cash crop which does not require a lot of water and can be grown under rain-fed or irrigation farming. paprika has a ready market and it has transformed the lives of the farmers at the scheme.”

Meanwhile, government and it’s development partners are in the process of establishing a paprika processing plant in Mwenezi district, with construction works expected to be complete this year.

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