By Kenias Chivuzhe
THE Government’s Small Holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme is achieving the desired results with Romsley Irrigation Scheme in Makoni District becoming one of the success stories.
Romsley Irrigation Scheme located in the drought parts of Makoni district ceased operations in 1976, with attempts to resuscitate it in 1982 proving unsuccessful.
However, the second republic has come to the rescue of the people of Chiduku area of Makoni district with the irrigation scheme on an expansion drive.
“Due to erratic rains, we were affected by droughts hence this development gives us hope to succeed to become successful farmers,” a beneficiary.
“The journey to revive and expand this irrigation can be equated to the Israelite’s journey to Canaan as many people who were leading this project passed on. We have happiness as we see progress being realised,” said a villager.
“We are now looking forward to be successful farmers and transform economic activities in our area.4) The painful situations of seeing our crops being affected by drought will be a thing of the past following the intervention by government,” said a community member.
Government officials who attended a training programme on irrigation management at the facility are convinced that the huge investment will boost productivity.
“This development will have a double positive impact that is increased productivity as well as improving the local community’s standard of living,” said Edwin Mashindi-Makoni District Development Coordinator.
“Farmers are going to be operating as a unit and on a commercial basis. The Agricultural Rural Authority will second a business manager at the scheme. The project will see 14 centre pivots being installed as well as sprinklers,” said Tendai Chimunhu Provincial Irrigation Engineer for Manicaland.
Small Holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme Project Coordinator Audric Mukorera revealed that the five-million United States dollar project will be completed within 8 months benefitting more than 500 farmers.
“This irrigation is being rehabilitated by the Small Holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme. We are looking at an overall investment of around US$5 million to complete the project. Already two contractors are working on the site with a total investment of about US$3 million.
“Hopefully we will have 500 hectares under irrigation by the end of 8 months. We have already taken two months of that so hopefully in 6 months’ time we will be irrigating. A total of 533 farmers will benefit from this project,” said Mukorera.
The Small holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme is co-funded by the government of Zimbabwe, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Opec Fund for International Development.