UNDP implementing 21 new irrigation schemes to minimize El Nino effect

EnviroPress Reporter

Benefiting over 2,180 households in rural Zimbabwe, UNDP is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture to implement ‘Building Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Agricultural Livelihoods in Southern Zimbabwe with financial support from the Green Climate Fund.

Rural provinces including Matabeleland South Province, Masvingo, and Manicaland will receive 21 solar-powered pivot-system irrigation schemes – using less water to irrigate crops more effectively, while immune to power shortages and using less labour – to modernize upon traditional canal systems.

Two such schemes have been completed (benefitting 320 households), while 8 remain in-progress (benefitting 2,180 households). Already in 2023, this partnership benefitted:

 · 3,356 farmers with new irrigation infrastructure and climate-smart agriculture training

· 43,939 hectares cultivated with climate-resilient agriculture

· 69,670 farmers benefiting beyond irrigation schemes – such as agriculture training, seed multiplication, and financial management.

 This partnership also supports traditional rain-fed irrigation farmers – increasing yields by 294% in 2023 compared to the baseline, and 109% over the previous season (2021/2022).

One farmer, Joyce Chauke, from Pikinini Jawanda in Mwenezi shared the joy of everyone in the community over the prospects of having their own irrigation scheme.

“Our region is generally dry, and we rarely get a good harvest, it is even worse now that there is the most talked about El Nino, we cannot wait to have our irrigation scheme functional so we can start producing food for consumption as well as for business,” said Chauke.

Approximately 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s population relies on subsistence rainfed agriculture for food and nutrition security. The 2023-2024 farming season was especially affected by lack of rainfall, estimated by experts as ‘drier than average’ (UNOCHA), induced by El