US$2,3m borehole project to benefit 1 000 households 

Source: US$2,3m borehole project to benefit 1 000 households | The Herald August 12, 2019

US$2,3m borehole project to benefit 1 000 households

Sifelani Tsiko Gwanda
Nearly 1 000 households are set to benefit from a US$2,3 million borehole installation and rehabilitation project that aims to improve water supply and crop production in this drought-prone district.

Ms Melody Makumbe, a project coordinator of Practical Action, an international NGO, said her organisation, with the support of partners, had so far managed to drill nine boreholes.

“We have so far drilled nine boreholes out of the 25 we are targeting in seven wards in Gwanda rural district,” she said. “We are making steady progress and we are now engaging contractors to install solar powering systems for boreholes and irrigation equipment.”

In 2017, Practical Action got a US$2,3 million grant from the Swedish embassy through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to implement the project.

The project is called the Enhanced Agricultural Productivity and Resilience to Climate Change through solar powered irrigation.

Ms Makumbe said the project was aimed at improving rural livelihoods through the use of solar to power irrigation and community garden schemes.

The project is now rehabilitating four irrigation schemes which include — Silikwe, Sukwi, Bhopoma and Reinetsi. The schemes have a combined hectarage of some 60 hectares. In addition, the project is aiming to establish 15 community gardens to improve household food and nutritional security as well as incomes for local farmers.

“There are some 920 beneficiaries in seven wards of Gwanda rural district with spill over benefits that could reach some 50 000 people,” said Ms Makumbe.

“We expect farmers to start tilling and benefiting from the irrigation and garden schemes from October this year.

“This project has the potential to change people’s lives by improving incomes, food security and building the resilience of farmers in the wake of climate change, “ said Ms   Makumbe.

“By growing their own food, farmers here will reduce their reliance on food imports from SA and Botswana as well as from faraway places like Gokwe, Murehwa, Chipinge and other places in the country.”

Farmers in this drought-prone district got training on good agricultural practices, irrigation management, soil and water management, financial literacy, marketing, value chains and maintenance of equipment