Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme in Binga has suffered a loss of $1 million due to the faulty water supply system, forcing it to suspend operations.

The faulty pipeline compromised the quality of the seed maize crop as it caused pipes to burst on numerous occasions during production last year, forcing the seed maize crop to go for long periods without water.

“The system was installed under the supervision of the government but it heavily compromised the yields here and consequently the quality of the grain which has been graded a number of times to meet the required standard set by seed manufacturers,” the Farm Manager, Mr Togarasei Muvengwa said.

“We managed to harvest about 53 tonnes but every time we do grading the tonnage will go down because there are other issues which are coming up in that grain, which SEEDCO is not quite happy about. So if they find that the grain does not meet the standard they want, they ask us to re-grade,” he added.

So far, seven tonnes have been graded to meet the standards set by the seed manufacturers.

The regrading involves the elimination of diseases which reduce the shelf life of the seed. Meanwhile, a team of technicians is back at Bulawayo Kraal to fix the faulty pipe system.

Farmers have previously waited for 15 years for the irrigation project to kick off, and latest development is yet another disappointment for them.