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Monday, 02 October 2017

Zimbabwe: EU transforms Mutema smallholder farmers

A multi-million-dollar European Union (EU) irrigation infrastructure support to smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe has started to pay dividends, with farmers in Mutema Irrigation Scheme, Chipinge district, harvesting their first banana crop with a ready market. The EU is disbursing the six million euro fund through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and so far, $200 000 has been invested in the Mutema scheme, which is now helping over 100 farmers who have a quarter-hectare plot each. Themba Mundidini is excited about the prospect of his first harvest from the scheme after four failed attempts, as they did not have efficient irrigation infrastructure. “I was among the first farmers to join the scheme and I have a quarter-hectare banana plot and I have a ready market for the produce after FAO linked us with Matanuska (a company which buys fresh bananas),” he said. Mundidini said farmers were also benefiting from the expert extension services and access to loans for working capital. “I am harvesting about 50 bunches each weighing between 20kg and 25kg and the bananas are being bought by Matanuska at 22 cents/kg. We have been linked to a bank facility, where we can borrow working capital,” he said Mundidini said the farmers were also receiving basic business training under the programme “Farming Business” where they are taught subjects such as marketing, budgeting and planning.

Source: newsday