Small scale farmers in Lupane, western Zimbabwe, decided to switch away from irrigating their fields by flooding them, which wastes huge amounts of water. They chose this strategy after a long-lasting drought slashed their harvests. They tested out drip irrigation that saves water by delivering it to plants efficiently, while monitoring soil moisture and temperature with pressure sensors.
Those practices have enabled farmers in the Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme in Matabeleland North province to grow vegetables and adapt to more challenging climate conditions.
With support from local groups and international agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), yields on the scheme’s 24 hectares have improved and most of its 63 member farmers have seen their incomes rise.
Standardmedia.co.ke reports that in March, the international Green Climate Fund (GCF), which helps developing countries adapt to climate shifts and adopt clean energy, approved a $26.6 million grant for a programme to scale up this kind of climate-resilient agriculture in Zimbabwe.
Due to start in September and run through to 2027, the GCF-backed programme aims to fund about 20 climate-smart irrigation schemes in southern Zimbabwe, similar to Tshongokwe, as well as setting up weather stations and 250 field schools for farmers.