Rupike Irrigation scheme in the south of Masvingo province is probably one of the few farmlands that have remained productive as most farmers in this drought-stricken province rue the losses of the El Nino-induced drought which has wiped out most crops and some livestock.
Situated in Ward 23, Chief Nyajena area, the scheme sustains 100 families on 200 hectares of irrigated farmland which produces Gloria 'sugar' beans and OPV maize seeds among other crops.
The farmers are engaged in contract farming which requires them to produce the seeds for sale to agro-dealers.
"This scheme is sustaining not only the farmers and their families but the wider society as well. We mainly grow plant seeds but whatever we produce here is sold to the local community first before we go anywhere else," said Luke Chawatama, Chairman of the scheme.
In a place where crops in the surrounding communal lands have failed, many families are also benefiting from temporary work at the scheme.
The scheme began operations in 1992 and was established by Anglo Ashanti in the late 1980s after the construction of Tugwane dam from which water for irrigation is drawn.
Anglo Ashanti are the owners of Renco Mine, which produces gold.
"We are happy because all the work is done here. We do the treatment and packaging of the seeds before we send them to the dealers," said Chawatama.
Ward 23 Councillor Tichaona Machingambi said he would like to see more land being put under irrigation to improve food security.
"It's no longer sustainable to rely on rainfall alone to produce food. We are looking for partnerships to create more irrigation schemes like this one," said Machingambi.news