When dry areas such as Chimhanda village in Rushinga tune in and catch the command agriculture frequency loud and clear then originators of the initiative can smile knowing they have made a giant imprint in the battle to guarantee food security.

The story of the Chimhanda irrigation scheme, an oasis in a province where rainfall is inadequate and temperatures are high for most of the year has certainly shown the country is indeed well on its way to fight hunger and be food secure.

Established in 1991 the Chimhanda irrigation scheme had become a white elephant as a result of poor rainfall in the area as well as lack of equipment to have meaningful production in the area.

However, efforts to resuscitate the scheme by various players as well as the Agricultural Mechanisation programme under the banner, the Brazil More Food for Africa have turned the dry area into a green belt.

The smallholder farmers in the area have certainly risen to the occasion with maize, wheat, vegetables as well as a banana plantation being part of the 72 hectare project.

Already 103 out of expected 140 tonnes of maize have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board as part of the command agriculture programme.

Agritex officer for Rushinga, Ms Melody Tsorigo said the scheme can achieve greater gains if there are increased water supplies as well as ensuring that equipment such as the centre pivot is operationalised.

She said payments for electricity as well as water have been reigned in as a result of the strict mechanisms ushered in by the command agriculture programme.

For farmers who are part of the Chimhanda irrigation project, the realisation that the dry area of Mt Darwin can be turned into a green belt is providing greater impetus for them to further increase productivity.