Friday, December 28, 2012

(HERALD ZW) Invest in irrigation, says Mujuru

Invest in irrigation, says Mujuru
Sunday, 23 December 2012 22:54
Agriculture Reporter

Vice President Joice Mujuru has implored Dotito farmers to invest in irrigation equipment to counter the effects of climate change. She said through irrigation, farm­ers would be assured of household and national food security.

In a speech read on her behalf by Mashonaland Central Governor Martin Dinha at the commissioning of the Dotito Drip Irrigation Scheme, VP Mujuru said climate change had affected farming seasons and led to consecutive droughts. A local company, Pedstock, donated the five-hectare drip irriga­tion equipment.

“We can increase food production through irrigation. Irrigation also enables farmers to harvest rainwater and use it later to produce food,” she said.

VP Mujuru said it was disturbing for a society to depend on donors for food.

“Farmers should move away from subsistence to commercial produc­tion. A farmer should produce enough to feed the family and ensure there is surplus to sell,” she said.

VP Mujuru expressed concern over farmers’ shift from food crops to tobacco farming.

She discouraged farmers in the area from totally switching off from food to cash crops such as tobacco, which was highly paying.

“Mashonaland Central province is a major tobacco producer but there is a need to also produce food and reduce hunger in the area.”

VP Mujuru advised the farmers to add value to their crops by process­ing them to at least the next line from raw products.
She said it was disheartening that there were lots of fruits in the area, which were rotting yet farmers could produce some juice and increase income.

VP Mujuru congratulated Dotito District for taking heed of President Mugabe’s advice of investing in irri­gation and water harvesting.

“You have become the first district to launch an irrigation scheme soon after the Zanu-PF’s annual national people’s conference,” she said.
Mt Darwin North Member of Par­liament, Cde Dickson Mafios, bemoaned the absence of funding for small-scale farmers.

Cde Mafios said there was a need for loan facilities that did not require farmers to produce collat­eral secu­rity.

“We have faith that the irrigation scheme will empower members and boost household food security,” he said.

Mt Darwin is rated fourth among hunger-stricken districts in the province according to the Zim­babwe Vulnerability Assessment Commit­tee.

The main advantage of the drip irrigation method is being able to water plants using a small amount of water delivered through pressurised pipes and drippers and it reduces moisture stress.

One of the most important aspects of this method is that the watered zone is only along the plant line, leav­ing the rest of the field dry, thus using the least amount of water possible.


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