Irrigation facility a blessing to Chipinge folk

Ethanol production has brought double blessings to the 700 farmers in Chisumbanje who are expecting bumper harvests from their 4 000 hectare piece of land.

After moving in to take over Chisumbanje Estate from the ailing Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), Green Fuels, an ethanol production company, gave the community land and facilitated an irrigation plant as part of its social responsibility programme.

One of the beneficiaries, Victor Muchini, said their farming activities had been given a lifeline by the irrigation facility.

Rhoda Mukwakwa and Isaac Ndimandi said they will never have a shortage of food again.

“If we fully utilise this opportunity we won’t witness another catastrophe such as that in 2008 drought,” said Mukwakwa.

She said they will concentrate on market gardening crops such as tomatoes, beans and wheat.

Ambuya Mothase Sithole loves to visit her plot to see her maize crop. “My plot really gives me joy and peace of mind. As the breadwinner for three orphans I am glad I will be able to provide enough for them.”

Charles Dhliwayo, a shop operator at Checheche Growth Point, said he was anticipating business to grow in the area.

The Chisumbanje Joint Ethanol Project Advisory Committee (JEPAC) dossier, noted that communities in the area had been getting close to zero yields due to persistent drought.

“This formed the basis for which a decision was made to anchor all social responsibility interventions on giving the rural farmers access to water from the Save river for all year round farming.

“To date, those farmers who have been allocated new irrigation plots also got packages of input to kick start their operations as they are recovering from drought. “A further 380 farmers will be roped in by April 2012,” read the statement.

Farmers outside the irrigation area were witnessing drying crops.

Adonis Muchachareka said for the past five years they had harvested less than a tenth of what they used to get. He said he will be lucky to get two 50 kg bags of his maize crop this year.

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