Tobacco farmers in the red

tobaccoMASVINGO - Tobacco farmers at Hama Mavhaire Irrigation Scheme in Chirumhanzu district are set to lose thousands of dollars worth of tobacco crops. (Pictured: Tobacco farmers are set to lose thousands after water pump was disconnected)

The development follows the disconnection of the water supply pump by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA). Although clarification from ZINWA could not be obtained, farmers in the Mutenderede area said the pump was disconnected at the beginning of the rainy season, a month ago. They said it had affected their crop as they have not received any rain for the past three weeks. ZINWA officials allegedly promised to reconnect the pump when the rains stopped. However, when it stopped raining and the farmers asked the officials to reconnect the pipe, they were reportedly told that it had developed problems and had been sent for repairs.

“We have had three weeks without rain now and most of our crops have withered. Now they are telling us they sent the pump for repairs. The big question is, how did it break down when it was operational at the time it was disconnected?” said a farmer. Another farmer, Lazarus Chakanyuka, said over 80 per cent of the crop would not be saved, even if the pump was reconnected or if it rained. “This is an irrigation scheme and we do not understand why the pump should be disconnected simply because it is the rainy season. Right now it is not clear what the ZINWA guys are doing, we strongly suspect they took our pump away and installed it at another irrigation scheme,” he said.

Several other farmers, who revealed that they had lost thousands of dollars worth of tobacco, said they suspected that the pump was taken away and installed at another irrigation scheme at Runde in Masvingo. Several parts of Midlands, including Gweru and Chirumhanzu, have not received any rain in the past three weeks.

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