Over 600 families in Nyanyadzi are set to benefit from the resuscitated Chakohwa Block E Irrigation Scheme, which is expected to significantly boost food security and household income in the drought-stricken area. So far, 33 hectares have been developed at the scheme under a $500 000 irrigation development project being carried out by Government in partnership with World Vision Hong Kong.
Representing Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Monica Mutsvangwa, Chimanimani acting district administrator Mr Lloyd Kasima said the development of a new irrigation scheme in Chakohwa was a game changer in ongoing efforts to stimulate household food security.
"The coming on board of Chakohwa Block E Irrigation Scheme will help improve food security and boost incomes for communities around the area as there is now scope for them to grow crops all year round," he said.
"The Chakohwa community was at the mercy of droughts every year and we want to applaud Government and its partners for coming up with the idea to develop an irrigation scheme. So far about 33 hectares have been put under irrigation under contract farming with Cairns," said Mr Kasima.
He implored the local community to take care of the irrigation equipment to avoid breakdowns and vandalism.
"People have a tendency of abusing donor-funded projects by vandalising property and stealing some items for personal use at their homesteads. We have gathered here to actually hand over the property to you, it is no longer Government property nor the development partners' property as this irrigation scheme is not set to benefit World Vision but to benefit you and your families," said Mr Kasima
Speaking at the same event, World Vision operations integrated director Mr Khumbulani Ndhlovu said the rehabilitation of Chakohwa irrigation scheme aims to improve household food security and the livelihoods for Chakohwa community as well as assisting smallholder farmers.
"Chakohwa area is characterised by low and unpredictable rainfall patterns which reduces farmers' capability to harvest meaningful yields that are adequate for household consumption. We hope that the community members with the rehabilitation of the irrigation scheme will become food secure and have nutritious foods for their children's consumption.
"The farmers are under contract farming with Cairns Foods Limited and they are producing Michigan beans. Cairns group of companies provided the Michigan bean seeds and World Vision weighed in with fertilisers and chemicals. This initiative was made to assist farmers and ensure they start to produce and create market linkages with suppliers already in the market.
"The farmers and their children will benefit through improved nutrition and household income," said Mr Ndhlovu.
The Chakohwa community applauded the Government and development partner's efforts in bringing in a life line to the drought-stricken area.
Plans are afoot to expand the irrigation scheme and introduce modern irrigation technologies such as centre pivots and mobile irrigators.