Bubi-Lupane Irrigation beats El Nino Bubi-Lupane Irrigation scheme maize succes

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

AT a time when most rural communities across the country are appealing for food relief following the El Nino-induced drought, members of the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme in Matabeleland North province are busy harvesting their bumper maize crop and are guaranteed food security.

Indications are that the members will harvest more than their families’ food requirements and will therefore deliver the excess to the Grain Marketing Board. 

Bubi-Lupane Irrigation scheme maize succes-Vioce Nxumalo

A true definition of an oasis in a desert, the irrigation scheme’s harvest has guaranteed enough food to  close to a 100 families at a time when thousands of families across the country harvested virtually nothing this last summer cropping season as a result of the El Nino-induced drought.

 The scheme members are not just food secure but also look forward to generating more income from  commercial crops they intend to grow throughout the year.

The families from Empofu Village who are the beneficiaries of this highly productive irrigation scheme, are fast weaning themselves off from aid dependency as they work to achieve food and nutrition self-sufficiency in line with the Second Republic’s V30 Accelerator Model launched by President Mnangagwa in 2021.

Under this model community members are shareholders of their respective irrigation schemes and work with the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) which provides the required management and technical skills.

A Chronicle news crew on Tuesday visited the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme and was told by members of the scheme that since the launch of the scheme three years ago, they were now economically empowered.

The project chairperson, Mr Gerald Khumalo said while many communities across the country were appealing for food aid, the members of the scheme and their families were food secure.

“There is a serious drought this year and as such many communities did not harvest anything but our story is different. We are expecting to harvest more maize than our food requirements hence we will send the excess to the GMB,” he said. 

Mr Khumalo said members did not just grow crops to meet their food requirements but also grow commercial crops to generate income for their families hence were now an envy of many.

He said as members of the irrigation scheme, they now appreciate and understand that farming is a business that can improve the families’ livelihoods and bring about development in an area.

“We are moving from pole and dagga houses to modern houses using proceeds from farming. Our farming is now mechanized and this has greatly improved our yields,” said Mr Khumalo.

He said the farmers were just about to complete maize harvesting but have already planted 100 hectares of wheat.

“ We expect to complete wheat planting by next week as Government has set 31 May as the deadline to complete planting,” said Mr Khumalo.

Another farmer, Ms Sinikiwe Moyo (53), said many farmers had completed harvesting the maize and have shared what they require as families while the excess will be sent to the GMB.

Mr Vioce Nxumalo said Empofu Village is a completely transformed village due to proceeds from the irrigation scheme.

He said many families now have modern homes, enjoy regular incomes and many were meeting most of their basic needs such as sending their children to school.

“Empofu in IsiNdebele is a place that is down-trodden and poverty stricken but here its no longer the situation. We are very productive as farmers hence many of us are enjoying improved livelihoods,” said Mr Nxumalo.

Contacted for comment, ARDA chief executive officer Mr Tinotenda Mhiko said the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme was now a viable business unit because farmers had adopted a climate-proofed agriculture.

He said since President Mnangagwa launched the V30 Accelerator Model at the scheme in 2021, there has been great progress at the scheme which has become model for other irrigation schemes.

Mr Mhiko said so far the scheme has harvested 100 hectares of maize and planted wheat on another 100ha 

-@nqotshili

Ends CKD PN

 

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