Albert Nyathi helps villagers with irrigation

One of Zimbabwe’s most decorated musicians, Albert Nyathi, 52, has facilitated provision of an irrigation system in his home district, Gwanda, to help minimise the community’s food dependency on donors.

Albert Nyathi planting vegetables at the irrigation project.
Albert Nyathi planting vegetables at the irrigation project.

Gwanda is a drought prone district of Matabeleland South Province, which needs a reliable and constant supply of water for agriculture activities to guarantee human and animal life.

After experiencing the economic hardships associated with poor rain falls, Nyathi decided to make a difference through sourcing necessary resources for a drip irrigation scheme. Though the idea was conceived a few years ago. The irrigation scheme took off last July with a massive tomato farming project on a one hectare plot at Kafusi village. It will benefit hundreds of families under five headmen.

“Locals can now run farming projects and access clean water from the scheme. The initiative has helped people to at improve their food security,” said Nyathi. He noted that food relief efforts by non-governmental organisations were temporary interventions and there was need for lasting solutions like the irrigation scheme.

He said that he was an ambassador for the project, who would source funds from well-wishers and his own coffers to see the irrigation scheme through.

Christ Hospital from West Sussex, Debra’s family and friends, USA and the Austrian Embassy have all contributed in different ways.

Currently, a 300 watt solar system pumps water into a 5,000 litre tank before it is released into the fields through drip irrigation.

Artists and other able citizens were urged to plough back into communities that nurtured them, for their successes to leave indelible prints after them.

The Parliamentary report of 2011 revealed that the livelihood of people in the province was mainly cattle ranching and communal farming. Due to negative effects of the land redistribution exercise, ranches have not been operating at full capacity and poverty in the area is estimated at around 74 percent.

Rainfall patterns are poor leading to a high dependence on donor assistance. This has to some extent forced the youth to migrate to Botswana and South Africa to seek employment.

Nyathi could not disclose the cost of the project as some well-wishers made anonymous contributions and because of 'professional reasons'.

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