On 30 March 2016 we gathered at the ward offices to meet farmers of the Kiwere Irrigation scheme in Tanzania. In our team, we had Jamie, Henning, Makarius, Marna, Thembi and myself. We were there to engage farmers and to have a discussion about the project that has been ongoing at the scheme since 2013. The project, “Increasing irrigation water productivity in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe through on-farm monitoring, adaptive management and agricultural innovation platforms,” is led by the Australian National University’s Jamie Pittock. As with most ACIAR-funded projects, it was time for project review and this was led by Marna de Lange, Managing Director, Socio-Technical Interfacing Consulting CC.
|The mill built by the farmers in Magozi, Tanzania. Photo: Liz Ogutu, ACIAR|
|The warehouse in Magozi. Photo: Liz Ogutu, ACIAR|
In Tanzania, the project team used GIS services to map the entire irrigation schemes; we never imagined the maps would, among other benefits, resolve conflicts around levy and revenue shares.
At the irrigation scheme in Silalatshani, Vilabusi in Zimbabwe, the farmers had decided that people should ideally not have to travel from other countries to assist them when there were things they could do themselves, and so had decided to rehabilitate their AIP meeting places. Due to the AIPs they chose new crops to try out, engaged the private sector and became price negotiators for their grain. Further, as Zimbabwe faces drought, they chose to employ dryland farmers in their plots so that these farmers could earn money to feed their families.
|The woman at the forefront is a dryland farmer employed at a plot in the Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme. She's seen here harvesting sweetpotato. Photo: Liz Ogutu, ACIAR|
By Liz Ogutu, Regional Manager Africa, ACIAR