IFAD commits US$106 million towards agriculture revival

By Tafara Chikumira

The Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement efforts continue to bear fruit with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), pledging US$106 million towards agriculture revival efforts in Zimbabwe.

Mayorca Irrigation Scheme in Zhombe is one such project which has come alive after benefiting from the injection of US$900 000 under the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme.

The 76 hectare-irrigation scheme became operational this year after the funds were directed towards the reconstruction of a dam wall and the procurement of a floating irrigation pump station.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which availed the funds noted that more projects are lined up as it partners government in poverty eradication.

“We had to come back to Zimbabwe after your government managed to pay back the loans that we were being owed. We already have US$51.6 million that is running under the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme. We have set aside US$67,8 million for projects that are running in five different provinces. We have also set up US$38 million for horticulture and we are still finalising the finer details,” said IFAD Country Director, Mrs Jaana Keitaanranta.

Some of the beneficiaries of the scheme say they are looking forward to a change of fortunes after the resuscitation of the scheme.

“This place is relatively in a dry region. Most crops in the fields are experiencing moisture stress. Our hope is now with the irrigated crops,” said a beneficiary.

“We are very happy that our scheme is now up and running. It’s been years since we used our water for irrigation purposes. It’s a life-changing experience. We are looking forward to selling our products locally and even exporting as we intend to also generate foreign currency. We are now living with hope as you can testify that our crop is doing well,” added another.

The Mayorca Irrigation Scheme, which became operational after the intervention of a government in partnership with IFAD, had stopped operations in 2007 after the dam-wall was washed away, while electricity lines were vandalised by thieves.