BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) has come up with ready markets for all produce from farmers in irrigation schemes as part of efforts to increase productivity on irrigable land.
The initiative, meant to promote uptake of irrigated farming, will see AMA creating market linkages to ensure that farmers do not struggle with securing markets to sell their crops.
This comes as the government has intensified the drive to resuscitate irrigation schemes in the country in order to boost crop production under its accelerated irrigation rehabilitation and development plan.
According to government’s National Development Strategy 1, the country is targeting to put 350 000 hectares of land under irrigation by 2025.
Addressing farmers during a tour of Chiduku-Tikwiri Irrigation Scheme in Manicaland province on Wednesday, Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka said vibrant irrigation was key to enhanced agricultural production, hence the need to rehabilitate dormant irrigation schemes.
“To ensure food security, varied efforts need to be undertaken. Vibrant irrigation complements the climate smart agriculture path we have adopted and irrigation schemes are key to achieving food self-sufficiency,” he said.
Chiduku-Tikwiri Irrigation Scheme, which draws water from Rusape Dam, has 187 hectares under irrigation and is benefiting 374 farmers.
AMA chief executive Clever Isaya said the authority would also work closely with communities in irrigation schemes to establish market infrastructure.
“Most crops grown under irrigation scheme are horticultural, like we have seen here with sugar beans,” Isaya said.
“Thus, they require markets with supporting infrastructure so that farmers reap full benefits of their work.
“Apart from that, the farmers should also target the export market for their produce which also require necessary infrastructure which enables transportation and even communication to happen smoothly.”
In the 2021 budget, government set aside $3 billion for the rehabilitation and development of irrigation schemes around the country.