Home » Human Rights » Irrigation Boon for Magunje Women

With the income she raises from her half-hectare plot at Magunje Irrigation Scheme, Mrs Clara Ndunduri (43) is in the cusp of realising her lifetime dreams. She has not only managed to build a decent home and restocking the family cattle herd — all big achievements for rural folk — but she is also sending her son to university.

Mrs Ndunduri is among the beneficiaries of the scheme, located near Kemureza Shopping Centre about 5km outside Magunje growth point along the Magunje-Binga Highway.

Magunje Irrigation Scheme and the 8000 mega-litre Magunje Dam were both commissioned by Vice President Joyce Mujuru on November 4, 2005.

The project was set up to upgrade the lives of the poor villagers through all-year-round horticulture, thus ensuring food security and income to meet daily needs including payment of school fees.

During the same occasion, Cde Mujuru launched a cassava project at the scheme.

Mrs Ndunduri specialises in the production of sugar beans, potatoes and sometimes green mealies.

She looks back and recounts the transformation she has undergone, thanks to the venture, in spite of economic challenges of earlier years.

She even affords to dream — dream of owning a car.

“Yes, things have not been rosy especially during the economic meltdown when we had to endure serious breakdowns of pumps while at the same time we had nowhere to turn to for spare parts. The period, which was also beset with intermittent power outages, made it hard for us to engage in serious horticultural projects. Over the past few years my husband and I have managed to transform our home into a decent one, bought several cattle and we have managed to pay fees for our son at university.

“This time we are targeting a car from the income to be realised from our current projects.

“Gone are the days when we would crack our heads over paying school fees for our children. We now can proudly afford buying basics for the family’s consumption.”

Another woman, Mrs Zviedzo Muchenje, told The Herald that it was now easy to plan for her life because of the viability of her agricultural projects.

Mrs Muchenje specialises in growing cabbages, tomatoes and onions.

She said with proper management, depending also on the number of plants grown, it was easy for her to project the income she could raise after any harvest.

“When I say I want to replace my furniture at home, I simply calculate how many plants I need to match the total price of the items to be purchased. From there I can then start working fully knowing my targets. It has in fact never failed me,” said Mrs Muchenje.

She is the proud owner of lush cabbages totalling about 5 000 which are now ready for the market.

For Mrs Ester Matsikiwa(49) growing potatoes, cassava and cabbages at the scheme has brought her relief as she can now comfortably take care of orphaned children from the extended families while Mrs Chipo Mazowe and her daughter-in-law, Reebeca, have hailed all-year-round horticulture as more lucrative to them than any other form of agriculture.

During his tour of the irrigation scheme last week, Member of Parliament for the area and also Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Dr Godfrey Gandawa urged all plot holders at the scheme to be business focused so that they could do away with the donor mentality.

Dr Gandawa, who pledged a donation of several tonnes of fertilisers including different types of seed to the 62 plot holders, said it was incumbent on the farmers to stand on their own feet and wean themselves from Government support since the scheme was established to operate as a self-contained profit-making entity.

“Although you have highlighted to me some of the pertinent problems currently bedevilling this scheme, you must note that the majority of your troubles can be circumvented through your own initiative and commitment.

“With Zim-Asset (Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation) you cannot continue crying for fertilisers, pesticides and seed from the Government.

“Remember you must operate as a business entity, always geared for profit. As you work for profit you must stop looking up to the Government for financial support,” he aised.

Dr Gandawa also urged the committee running the scheme to open a bank account into which every farmer would make monthly contributions to take care of pump breakdowns and electricity bills among other financial obligations.

Apart from leaking pipes, worn out sprinkler heads and disruptions caused by ZESA load shedding, some plot holders said operation at the scheme could only be stabilised by constructing a reservoir that would supply water when pump breakdowns and load shedding were experienced.

“I come from Chiva, 14km away, to work on my plot. At times power outages occur right on my arrival forcing me to go home since there would be no water for the whole day.

The solution lies in the construction of a tank that will ensure an uninterrupted supply of water at any moment. We are more than ready to make our contribution through moulding bricks for this facility,” said a lady from Masamba Village under Chief Nematombo.

Dr Gandawa promised to chip in an undisclosed amount of cement should the committee at the helm of the scheme make necessary arrangements to kick-start the reservoir project.

Source : The Herald