Malikango remains one of the success stories of irrigation schemes in Masvingo Province, with farmers appealing for government support in terms of ensuring access to inputs and market linkages.
Despite it being one of the most thriving irrigation schemes focusing on sugar bean farming, Malikango irrigation in Chikombedzi remains not fully functional with more than 50 hectares of land out of 100 hectares lying idle.
Since early 2000 when the irrigation equipment was destroyed by Cyclone Eline, operations have not returned to normalcy though farmers continue striving to reach their target of more than 2 tonnes per hectare as currently they are producing 1,6 tonnes per hectare.
According to farmers at Malikango irrigation, after bearing the burden of acquiring inputs on their own at increased prices, markets remain their biggest challenge.
Minister of State for Masvingo province, Cde Ezra Chadzamira said government programmes including command agriculture should reach productive farmers like the ones in Malikango for increased production and improvement of the people’s lives.
“Today we are witnessing one of success stories of our indigenous farmers who are rightly utilising land for production. Our government programmes should target such people as we move towards fulfilling President [Emmerson Mnangagwa]’s vision of a middle income economy by 2030. We are going to engage relevant authorities to ensure our farmers are fully capacitated,” said Cde Chadzamira.
Malikango is among many irrigation schemes in Masvingo Province that need to be fully capacitated to enhance people’s lives, given the availability of water sources that include Tugwi Mukosi, Manyuchi and Manjerenje dams.