BEITBRIDGE: Communal farmers to earn millions from citrus exports

By Innocent Nxumalo

MORE than 100 villagers in Shashe area of Beitbridge are set to earn millions of dollars from citrus farming after turning a dysfunctional communal irrigation scheme into a flourishing orange farm.

With each villager having endured twelve years of nurturing 60 orange trees, time has come for the communal farmers to taste the fruits of their labour.

Jubilant Shashe communal farmers say they are targeting to exceed the 800 tonne record harvest attained last season after embarking on look and learn visits to successful commercial citrus producers in the region.

“We have seen a steady improvement of yields since our trees started bearing fruits. This season we are hopeful to increase our share in the exported citrus,” said one farmer.

“We have discovered that this is one of the income earning projects with capacity to transform our livelihoods.

“Last year’s harvest motivated us to commit ourselves more to orange production.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Simon Masanga commended the Shashe community for complementing government efforts in supporting vulnerable families.

“It is quite exciting to see that people are taking self-sustaining projects seriously. Such productivity reduces the number of those extending cupped hands to government. We noted that in the process of uplifting themselves more employment is created,” he said.

More than 90 hectares of the Shashe community irrigation scheme have been committed to citrus production and expected to see farmers harvesting orange fruits for nearly seventy years.