The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) will set up markets for produce from irrigation schemes, in a move meant to promote the uptake of irrigation farming among small scale farmers.
AMA chief executive Mr Clever Isaya said the authority was working with communities under irrigation schemes to establish market infrastructure to minimise post harvest losses.
AMA is a statutory body established in terms of an Act of Parliament and is mandated with the overall regulation of the production, marketing and processing of agricultural products in Zimbabwe.
“Most crops grown under irrigation schemes are horticultural; like we have seen here with sugar beans.
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 enable transportation and even communication to happen smoothly” said Mr Isaya.
Government is on a drive to resuscitate irrigation schemes in the country with aim to rehabilitate and modernise them under Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan.
According to the National Development Strategy 1, the country is targeting to put 350 000 hectares under irrigation by 2025.
Government has so far invested $693 million under the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Programme, which seeks to exploit irrigable potential in every district as part of our drought proofing strategy.
At least 80 projects, mostly A1 and communal schemes are under implementation, with potential to deliver 10 000 ha.
This year, the Government intends to spend nearly $4 billion towards irrigation rehabilitation and development, covering 10 500 ha at 101 irrigation schemes.
The funds will also be directed towards maintenance of 14 000 ha of communal irrigation schemes and producing 30 irrigation design reports.
Addressing farmers after touring Chiduku-Tikwiri Irrigation Scheme in Rusape, Manicaland, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka told farmers that vibrant irrigation underpins agricultural productivity hence the need to scale up and expedite irrigation rehabilitation.
“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 scheme, which draws water from Rusape Dam has 187 hectares under irrigation, benefiting 374 farmers.
Under 2021 budget, the Government has set aside $3 billion for the purpose of rehabilitation and development of irrigation schemes around the country.