Massive peas production project at Gonye Irrigation Scheme

By Tafara Chikumira

GOVERNMENT’S public private partnerships (PPPs) are bearing fruit with a local agro-based entity partnering the Shurugwi community in a project that has turned around the fortunes of Gonye Irrigation Scheme.

The partner is assiting the community through the provision of irrigation equipment and farming inputs as well as knowledge and skills transfer on how to produce cash crops with a niche on the international market.

The irrigation scheme is directly benefiting 200 families through an out-grower scheme where farmers have planted 20 hectares of peas with an anticipated output of 60 tonnes this season alone.

 “Life has not been easy for our irrigation scheme. I am happy for this initiative that is helping me to transform my general lifestyle. If they had not came here, I would have been trying my luck at the mines doing artisanal mining. Now look at me providing essential foodstuff for the country and the international market as well,” said a beneficiary.

“We were having challenges on our irrigation scheme as we didn’t have the tools of the trade. Am sure if you look closely, am looking at a great yield to be accrued from this crop. My life has indeed changed and am looking for great outcome from the yield. Hope is what keeps us alive,” said a farmer.

 “We now have respect in our society as we can now make ends meet. As a woman, there is nothing as empowering as to go to the shops to buy essentials without necessarily looking up to your husband for help all the times. It’s an empowering experience and I feel liberated in the process. I want to urge young women in the community to shun early marriages and be part of this empowering journey through farming,” said another farmer.

Techno-serve country director, Mr William Zirebwa says his organisation is now focusing on implementing the concept of value addition for the benefit of the farmers.

“We have realised that the people here are putting all their efforts towards the success of this project. We are now moving towards the concept of value adding their crops. We are therefore in the process of constructing a packaging facility at Chachacha Business Centre. Our goal is to make sure that farmers are active economic players all year round,” said Mr Zirebwa.

Located some 45 kilometres south east of the mining town of Shurugwi, Gonye Irrigation Scheme is one of the projects that government has earmarked for massive transformation as the Second Republic seeks to empower small holder farmers under the Agriculture Revival Strategy.