Blessing Rwizi Farming Correspondent
SMALL-SCALE farmers at Chidzadza Irrigation Scheme in Chipinge have hailed the introduction of drip technology, saying it has positively changed their livelihoods over the past year.
Farmers have since diversified into yellow maize, beans and vegetable production, selling the green products to individuals and retail shops in Chipinge District. They are soon expecting to venture into eggplant, cauliflower, peas, onion, garlic, choumolia, okra, groundnuts and rape among a host of horticultural crops. Drip irrigation is a system that distributes water directly to the soil at a very low rate (in drops) from a system tank into small diameter plastic tubing fitted with outlets called emitters or drippers.
The system uses gravitational force to move the water from the tank down to the intended point and is highly efficient because the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run off. The water is also applied close to the plant root zone providing a high moisture level in the soil in which plants can thrive. Chidzadza drip irrigation installation was done in June 2016 by World Vision and Chipinge Rural District Council.
Farmers are drawing water from a 1 200 cubic metre weir dam constructed in 2015. One of the farmers at Chidzadza, Mrs Constance Tsuruseni, said farmers welcomed drip technology which they believe would go a long way in promoting and improving their livelihoods.
“Families around this area have had their lives changed since the establishment of this drip technology which saves both water and energy. We survived most on animal husbandry, but the drought that hit our region two years ago killed a lot of our cattle, leaving the remaining ones in poor conditions. We are growing yellow maize, beans and vegetables, selling them to individuals and retail shops in Chipinge and Tanganda. This has enabled us to pay our children’s schools fees among other basic needs in our homes. Very soon we are diversifying into green beans, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, cauliflower, peas, onion, garlic, choumolia and okra,” said Mrs Tsuruseni.