THE Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) is engaged in efforts to bring harmony among members of irrigation schemes.
According to CCMT director Wonder Phiri irrigation schemes are avenues to bring about food security, broaden incomes and help communities mitigate the effects of climate change.
However, lack of cohesion within the schemes has often derailed attempts to meet this target.
Currently CCMT is involved in fostering cohesion within irrigation schemes in the Midlands districts of Mberengwa and Vungu.
“In the Midlands we are supporting the goal of ensuring food security through the support of irrigation schemes by ensuring they effectively operate.
There are many reasons why irrigation schemes are not operating effectively and one of them is the soft side which deals with leadership, management of resources and accountability within schemes.
We have noticed that poor cohesion among leadership and members leads to poor production even when the irrigation infrastructure is running efficiently”.
Phiri says CCMT interventions have helped communities to improve the effectiveness of irrigation schemes through providing trainings on sound administrative, finance, communication, marketing and contract farming skills.
Irrigation schemes have also through the efforts of CCMT come up with constitutions that clearly spell out the roles and procedures to govern operations leading to reduced conflicts within the schemes.
Additionally CCMT has provided a platform for irrigation schemes to interact with services providers such as ZINWA and ZESA to ensure that contagious issues of outstanding debts are addressed and resolved in an amicable manner.
“We have helped irrigation schemes in the two districts to develop constitutions and procedures that spell out how conflicts are resolved. Also through the district irrigation communities we have facilitated a platform to discuss issues that affect their schemes”.
Phiri said the project will continue beyond 2020 but will incorporate other issues that farmers say pose a challenge to effective running of irrigation schemes.
Among the issues farmers have raised to CCMT include lack of adequate markets, contract farming, post harvest losses and access to information.
Phiri said by addressing these issues CCMT can contribute to ensuring food security in the country and compliment efforts by government and other developmental partners.
“We want to continue with the project and help the farmers with other issues in particular access to markets, at times the irrigation schemes grow their produce but have not markets and their efforts go waste. Equally post harvest losses are a major issue with the farmers and we would like to look at that in the next aspect of the project”.
He said his organization would also like to deal with conflict brought about by climate change between wild life and people.