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The IRC, in partnership with Better Agriculture and Agritex - the national extension service, and through funding provided by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), has brought about a potentially sustainable project through the Nyakomba irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe. Nyakomba is situated on the Gairezi river, which marks the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The irrigation scheme uses water from the Gairezi river to aid in growing tabasco chillies on an area of land 20 hectares in size. As well as growing an export crop that can generate income, the partnership will see the setting up of a mini-processing plant for fresh chillies which will also be managed by the community. The processing plant will create employment for youths in the area.  The income generated from the sale of fresh or processed chilli can be used by the farmers to enhance food security, to pay for services and school fees and generate savings that will increase resilience in the face of climate change pressures.

The IRC’s Economic Recovery and Development Unit has provided specialised assistance to chilli growers in Nyakomba in the following key areas: training on good agricultural practice in tabasco chilli cultivation, training on contract farming, facilitation of exchange visits with other more experience local chilli growers. Building local capacity in sustainable farming methods is a cornerstone of the Nyakomba irrigation scheme.

In February 2012 Sida’s Head of Development Cooperation Magnus Carlquist visited the Nyakomba irrigation scheme and made the following comments about the project and IRC’s involvement:

“ … Development, from Sida’s perspective, is a long chain that starts with donors and tax payers on one end and ends with beneficiaries at the other end, in the middle there are vital links and players such as the Swedish embassy, government, and organisations like the IRC and their partners. Keeping these links healthy is vital for any development project to succeed. What we have seen today is reflective of healthy links that IRC is managing really well, … we are happy to be your partners IRC, … we trust you, … I wish you all the best in all your projects now and in the future.”

Magnus Carlquist, Head of Development Cooperation, Sida


To find out more about the work of IRC in Zimbabwe, see here.