Farmers not yet in the red – Government

By Londiwe Dube

Government is optimistic that the crop planted under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme will survive the current dry spell.

This comes as the government is implementing the smallholder irrigation revitalisation programme as a long-term plan to climate change.

The dry season being experienced across the country has left farmers fearing for the worst if the skies fail to smile at them any time soon.

However, there is hope that climate proof Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme will guarantee food security in the country.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr John Basera, who toured Mayorca Irrigation Scheme in Zhombe, noted that the current dry spell gives government an opportunity to come up with a long-term plans in address challenges brought about by climate change.

“The reason why we are making these concerted efforts in terms of irrigation and rehabilitation in development is that we need to adapt to climate change effects and variabilities. Climate change is a real reality and we definitely have to adapt to it. Our agriculture is vulnerable to climate change effects and variabilities donuts a must that we adapt,” he said.

He also noted that if rains are received soon, crops will not fail.

“We were given a target by His Excellency the President as the ministry to rehabilitate and develop about 3 500 hectares by the year 2024-25. Currently, we are at around 1 800 hectares under irrigation. So, the job is half done, we still have a long way to go. The general status of the crop is at temporary hooting point and this means if we can receive rains in the next 2 to 4 days we should be able to be okay.”

Farmers who are benefiting from the smallholder irrigation revitalisation programme hailed the Second Republic’s efforts to empower marginalised communities.

“We want to thank the ruling party for this irrigation scheme. It really shows that our President has the interest of the public at heart. With this programme, we are positive that we will have fairly good yields despite the dry spell that is currently experienced in the country,” a farmer said.

The smallholder irrigation revitalisation programme is meant to increase the hectarage under irrigation countrywide, with small irrigation schemes in various rural communities being refurbished.