Farming & Mining

Irrigation systems- a game changer in Zim economic drive

.  Irrigation – a game changer in Zimbabwe economic survival

Irrigation is the only way to ensure food security in Zimbabwe, irrigation plays a key role in agricultural development but it is quite often paid lip-service because practical steps are not taken to unlock the potential in irrigation farming. There is need to promote the growth of irrigation as an instrument to mitigate hunger and poverty as well as scaling efforts to prepare for the looming 2018  drought. There is need to speed up efforts to promote various types of irrigation systems in order to tackle water scarcity challenges and prepare our farmers to cope up with droughts. Zimbabwe is aware that drought poses a serious threat to farmer’s  livelihoods and national security. It is about time that the government of Zimbabwe step up efforts to promote irrigation in regions with abundant water from rivers, streams and dams to ensure food security

The government must prioritize small scale irrigation schemes and other forms of agricultural water management strategies that are critical in building resilience to challenges that come with climate changes. Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant water resources, that are, however, unevenly distributed across the country.

“Very few farmers benefit from water management and the majority still rely heavily on rain-fed agriculture. Most areas in Zimbabwe are becoming highly vulnerable to climate change and farmers across the country increasingly need to rely more on climate change adaptation options such as irrigation to survive

The frequency of dry spells and significant climate events such as droughts are hitting small holders more regularly and there is urgent need to adopt irrigation technology and techniques  irrigation has numerous spin -offs,  it can enable farmers to achieve more reliable, profitable and sustainable production, increase their resilience and boosting their livelihoods.  In this light small-scale irrigation is a useful strategy that can promote rural food security, poverty alleviation and adaptation to climate change.

With inadequate and erratic distribution of rainfall, the government  and agricultural experts agree that the development of irrigation is key to unlocking the country’s agricultural potential. Irrigation will also encourage crop diversification among farmers, because they will be able to grow different crops throughout the year to boost their incomes, as many farmers will become less-dependent on rain – fed crops and grow more fruits and vegetables to cut down on imported agricultural products.  Irrigation would  also promote the production of high value plants such as flowers and other horticultural crops that can help earn the country more forex .

Investments on pipes, solar water pumps and canals that help water flows to dry areas and to other large -scale multi-purpose dams that provide water and control flooding, can also help bring relief to drought-prone regions.

With the recent prediction that the country is set to receive between normal  and below normal rains in the forthcoming wet season, the water harvesting infra-structure is set to be a game changer,  as it provides water for small – scale irrigation schemes and gardens.

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