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HomeNews“From farm to Market” – Commercialization of smallholder Irrigation

“From farm to Market” – Commercialization of smallholder Irrigation

Produced by FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa

It’s a busy day for Themba Mundidini, a banana farmer at Mutema irrigation scheme in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. Themba is assured of a bumper harvest, the first after five attempts. The source of the successful season is the water sprinklers spewing the precious liquid on the lush banana plantations in an otherwise dry area in Zimbabwe’s Chipinge district.

Themba is a beneficiary of the Small holder Irrigation Programme (SIP), implemented by FAO in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe with funding from the European Union. This four-year programme is restoring communal irrigation schemes by repairing and rebuilding infrastructure to increase production thus boosting food and nutrition security as well as ensuring incomes for smallholder farmers by linking them to markets and financial institutions. Through the project, famers have been trained on the principles of scheme governance, agronomy and farming as a business.


Moreover, the SIP project has linked farmers to companies that buy produce directly from farmer’s homesteads in bulk and transport it at no additional cost, allowing farmers like Tongai Chipiro, whose harvest, this season, exceeds his expectations- to focus on production, as they already have a ready market.

Themba and other farmers in this video are just a few examples of how commercialization of irrigation schemes is changing the lives of hundreds of farmers across Zimbabwe. Idle irrigation schemes, previously punctuated by broken canals and poorly attended crops, only three years ago, have morphed into flourishing fields unlocking the commercial potential of small holder farmers and offering a lasting solution to food and nutrition security and to achieving Zero hunger.

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