Blessing Rwizi Post Correspondent
FOOD and Agriculture Organisation has channelled $200 000 towards the installation of micro-jet sprinkler irrigation system and rehabilitation of other facilities at Mutema Irrigation Scheme.
The $90 000 worth micro-jet sprinkler system was installed on 30-hectares of the scheme for banana projects between July 2014 and August last year. The deal was struck under the National Irrigation Rehabilitation Framework to support 80 irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe. It is being funded to the tune of six million Euros by the European Union.
NIRF commenced in July 2014 and is expected to end in December this year. Its main objective is to help improve income, food and nutrition security of smallholder communal farmers in Zimbabwe. Gudyanga, Tonhorai, Maunganidze, Musikavanhu A5, Musikavanhu B2, Mutema, Bwerudza A and B, Chiduku Tikwiri and Chiduku Ngowe are the 10 irrigation schemes that were selected to directly benefit from the programme in Manicaland.
More than 840 plot holders are expected to benefit in these 10 schemes. However, FAO also linked Mutema farmers with CABS Bank for loans to buy inputs as well as Matanuska. Matanuska will sell their produce. FAO irrigation provincial facilitator for Manicaland, Mr Simbarashe Marwei, said despite the completion of the micro-jet sprinkler irrigation system, work was still in progress at Mutema Irrigation Scheme.
“We have done 30ha so far, but we figured out that the boreholes in the scheme also need attention for good water supply. We will rehabilitate seven boreholes and that is expected to be done within the next three months since the tendering process is already in progress.“The micro-jet sprinkler irrigation system is already functional on five hectares of the 30 hectares where farmers planted bananas in August last year. They are expecting their first harvest in the next two or so months. They will sell the bananas to Matanuska. FAO also managed to rehabilitate toilets around the scheme. By the end of the National Irrigation Rehabilitation Framework in December this year, we are expecting to have used about $200 000 at Mutema and make sure that everything is functional for the benefit of the entire community,” said Mr Marwei.
Micro-sprinkler irrigation is an advanced plastic molding technology that allows for the development and manufacture of water emitters with extreme diversity of flow rates, distribution patterns and droplet sizes. Its numerous applications include under tree irrigation of fruit trees, irrigation in greenhouses and nurseries, irrigation of landscapes and residential gardens, frost protection in orchards and vineyards, climate control (cooling and humidification) in greenhouses, poultry houses and livestock areas and pesticide spraying in greenhouses and orchards.