Sixty (60) year old Mr. Elijah Sedze who stays with his wife and an 18 year old man as his labourer at Nyarumvurwe irrigation scheme less than 30 km west of Nyanga town in ward 23 has been growing horticultural crops with his wife under irrigation since 2009. The couple is blessed with 4 sons, 2 daughters and 13 grand children. Mr Sedze was allocated 0.3 hectares (average plot size is 0.1 hectares) which is 3 times more than the majority of the farmers since part of the scheme used to be his dry land fields in block 4 of the Nyarumvurwe irrigation scheme left bank after the establishment of the irrigation scheme in 2009.
Mr Sedze has been growing sweet beans and wheat since 2009 on his irrigated plot before shifting to onions as his main irrigated crop in 2011 with the household realising gross income from the crop of $2 000 and $3 000 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The sixty year old was among the farmers selected by the community and the Agricultural Extension workers to benefit from the Promoting Smallholder Market Engagement project’s $160 open voucher agricultural input support intervention in January 2014. “This triggered a big change of fortunes for me and my family including those working in towns” said the evidently happy farmer.
He used the $160 value voucher to procure 25 kg of sweet beans seed, 100 kg compound C and 50 kg of ammonium nitrate fertilizers as the timing was not suitable for onion production. Mr Sedze planted the sweat beans in February of 2014 and harvested 14 X 50kg bags of sweet beans and sold 13 bags realising gross income of more than $1 000. He used around $450 of the income from sweet beans to procure 800 g of onion seed ($192), 150kg of compound C fertilizer ($135), 50kg ammonium nitrate ($36), other chemicals ($25) and paying for casual labour ($70). The remainder was used to pay college fees for his last born 22 year old son and purchasing of some household items. He established his onion nursery in May before transplanting in July 2014.
In November he harvested 1 200 pockets that he sold at between $5 and $10/pocket, realizing $5 700 which is his highest annual onion income since he started growing the crop in 2011. From the proceeds, Mr Sedze (in figure 1) purchased a Nissan hard body pickup truck for $3 500, spent $1 000 on upgrading his residential property in Harare and $850 on procurement of onion production inputs (1kg seed, 100kg ammonium nitrate and 250 kg compound C fertilizers). “I used the remainder ($400) to spoil my family”, said the smiling onion farmer.
“The PSME project has brought real joy to my household as I have realized my long life dream of owning a pickup truck that has proved to be very useful in the procurement of bulk farming inputs and the movement of myself and my wife between our irrigation plot and the homestead as my wife has problems walking”, said Mr Sedze in his concluding remarks.
By Augustine Masomera and other FCTZ staff, July 2015