Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Farmers at Chabwino Farm in Goromonzi, who benefited from the Brazil More Food for Africa Phase One programme, have started reaping the fruits as they have doubled their yields, securing food security for their households even under drought conditions this year.
The farmers received farming implements, which included centre pivots, fertiliser spreaders, discs and harrows in a move expected to boost productivity and fulfil Zim-Asset targets set under the Food Security and Nutrition cluster.
Beneficiaries are producing maize, soyabeans, sugar beans, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and sweet potatoes among other crops.
The farmers yesterday said within some few months of using the implements, they have realised huge changes from the previous years where they relied on rain-fed agriculture.
Chabwino A1 farmer, Mr Ishweat Chomusi, said the centre pivot had enabled the farmers to have a healthy crop during a drought situation.
“The equipment came at the right time.
“We are looking forward to high maize yields of above 10 tonnes per hectare when others without irrigation have had their crops wilting.
“Our crops have enough water and are doing well.
“Looking at our crops, we are confident that we will repay the loan without difficulties,” he said.
Another farmer, Mr Reason Nyamakura, said irrigation had enabled the farmers to produce crops at a large scale.
He said he had been able to produce maize and other cash crops and did not have problems paying his workers.
“The centre pivot is so useful especially for maize.
“I am also producing tomatoes and I have the crop in different stages,” he said.
The farmers said the centre pivot was not difficult to operate and this gave them ample time to attend to other operations.
Things are, however, different at the nearest irrigation scheme where since October, the equipment has been lying idle.
Farmers at Chabwino B Farm are complaining that the equipment took so long to be fully installed and up to now had not started functioning.
Chabwino B chairman, Mr Edison Mubvumbi, said the farmers’ crops were affected by drought while they watched helplessly as the centre pivot was lying idle.
“The people installed the equipment in October and did not return. They came last week to attend to us and are currently fitting nozzles and putting last touches to the equipment.
“It is good that we will now irrigate our crops but some of the crops have already been wasted,” he said.
Another affected farmer, Mr Edison Chinondo said he lost five hectares of his potatoes as a result of the delay in the setting up of the equipment.
“We had planted long season varieties relying on the centre pivot. Our crops have been affected by drought and come October we are expected to pay $11 000 for the loan.
“It is unfortunate that although the equipment may start functioning soon, our yields have already been compromised,” he said.
The $38 million equipment from Brazil phase one programme benefited smallholder farmers who were resettled under the land reform programme.
Most farmers welcomed the move by Government to bring the equipment as climate change had affected the agriculture sector.
Beneficiaries of the scheme said they now no longer relied on rain-fed agriculture and could produce crops throughout the year.