Zimbabwe: Revived Irrigation Scheme Boosts Wheat Production

DONGARONGA Irrigation Scheme in Musengezi, Mashonaland West Province, has scaled up winter wheat production after putting about 20 hectares under the crop.

The scheme was resuscitated by President Mnangagwa in June 2016, when he was Vice President. He visited the irrigation scheme alongside Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri during her tenure as Environment, Water and Climate Minister.

Last year, Dongaronga had five hectares under winter wheat but can grow up to 40 hectares.

It is supported by the District Development Fund (DDF) and the Government, which provided $3,5 million for tillage.

Speaking during a tour of the scheme on Wednesday, DDF director of water supplies and maintenance services Mr Edwin Tariro said the increase in production showed that both DDF and the farmers were keen to increase crop production.

Mr Toriro said DDF had provided tractors for tillage, drilled boreholes in addition to offering fencing and de-siltation services at Dongaronga Dam.

DDF director for land development, tillage and construction, Mr Tambirai Chiwera, said although Dongaronga Irrigation Scheme had met its set target, most communal farmers were struggling to meet their wheat planting targets because of DDF's depleted capacity.

"We are failing to provide tillage services to all the farmers across the country as we currently have 100 tillage units instead of the required 700," he said.

"Most farmers lost cattle due to January Disease hence, as DDF, we were expected to provide assistance to these farmers as a way of cushioning them."

DDF had so far tilled about 4 000 hectares for 6 000 families.

Musengezi Cooperative Union chairperson, Mr Clevermore Kent, said the scheme had 18 contract workers who were working on the 19 hectares of wheat already planted.

He said the scheme, which is made up of 113 families, is expected to contribute an average of 75 tonnes towards the national target.

Mr Kent appealed to the Government for tractors for the irrigation scheme to boost capacity.

"We are failing to make reasonable production because of the unavailability of our own machinery. We are, however, grateful to the DDF for its efforts in supporting us as an irrigation scheme," he said.

Dongaronga Irrigation Scheme is made up of various cooperatives from Zvimba and Chegutu districts that include Dzingainhamo, Rudaviro and Changamuka.

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