Irrigation schemes in Masvingo have been urged to maximise production given the anticipated poor yields from dry land farmers due to the dry spell being experienced in the province.

The dry spell being experienced in Masvingo has seen crops in most of the rural areas wilting, with some now a write-off, an indication that most villagers are going to need food aide.

Irrigation schemes like Mushandike, Chomugwaku and Drawmore often serve as places of refuge in times of drought with villagers purchasing grain or offering their labour in exchange for grain.

Plot holders at Drawmore Irrigation Scheme who were speaking on the sidelines of a field day said they are working to maximise production to ensure food security in the province.

“We are trying all our best to maximise our yields so as ensure the province is food sufficient. Most people come to these our schemes for part time field jobs and get food in return,” said some farmers at Drawmore Irrigation Scheme.

An agriculture expert, Mr Irvine Craig said investment in more irrigation equipment will ensure that the country is food secure while urging farmers to desist from stream bank cultivation and farming practices that lead to siltation of water bodies.

“Even if the irrigation equipment in put in place, it amounts to nothing when the water bodies are silted. We want to work so that there’s more production,” he said.

Masvingo falls under ecological Region 5 which receives low rainfall and already thousands of families in areas like Mwenezi, Zaka and Bikita are in need of food aide.

Despite having several dams, irrigation infrastructure is lacking in Masvingo.