During the month of May the committee of the group of farmers came to us requesting help to irrigate their crops grown during the dry season. The group consisted of forty six farmers, male and female. They had already dug canals but much of the water was wasted due to seepage. We went to look at the place and found many people cultivating and preparing to plant maize.
We informed them that we could help but first we would have to contact Mr Ben Simponi the irrigation engineer at the Government Offices in Thyolo. The following week he come with his colleagues to look of the area and to advise on what was required to complete the whole project.
First they met with the Chief and the group to explain the conditions laid down by the Ministry of Agriculture concerning irrigation. All had to agree to these conditions and later each one would sign a contract with the Ministry.
We were given o list of all the items required for the project, e.g. pipes and fittings, cement and the cost of paying the artisan who would be employed to carry out the work together with the men and women involved in the project.
Sand, stones and quarry stones would be provided by the group. The source of water is the Nonyolo River which gives the project its nome, “Nonyolo Irrigation Scheme”. A weir was built on the river and “boxes” were built at various stages where the pipes would be laid. The engineers came frequently to supervise the work and eventually everything was complete.
On the last day there was a sense of excitement as the people waited for the water to flow freely into their plots. Everybody had worked hard and they were overjoyed to see the fruit of their labours. The photos below will give you some idea of what the project entailed. These farmers can now have two extra crops. during the year and this will help with food security for their families.