Mberengwa youths pin hopes on solar energy irrigation systems

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Robert Munemo

Nutrition gardens supported by solar energy irrigation systems have become a common sight in Mberengwa as the communities battle to boost food security while engaging in income-generating projects, it can be established.

Found in regions four and five, Mberengwa is hot and dry making lives hard but with the support from the government, Care and Youth Connect Zimbabwe, the communities have erected 3 hectares of garden with a spacious solar power irrigation system of 135 Amps output which is capable of pumping up to 20 000 liters a day.

Speaking to this publication, one of the youths, Felix Zhou, says this gardening project is not only about youths but it represents a community vision towards sustainability and diversity in income generation projects.

“This gardening project was initiated in 2019, initially it wasn’t for Youths only but an all-encompassing until we got financial support from Youth Connect through ZRBF. Now as an extension, we also have aquaculture projects only meant for youths. Our vision is to grow beyond this, and diversify later beneficiation and value addition,” said Zhou.

From this garden, the community hopes to transform the lives of more than fifty youths and the community as a whole.

“This garden is supporting more than five villages. Favorite crops include cabbages and tomatoes but recently we introduced potatoes for diversity. Our garden size is 3 hectares, we have a solar system that generates a solar output of around 135 Amps. With our 1.5 horsepower we can pump up to 20 000 liters a day”, added Zhou.

Efforts to get a comment from the Area Extension Officer (Agritex officer) who is responsible for guiding this project by delivering relevant crop farming knowledge were not successful but another AEO from the same region Thandiwe Moyo, said that employment creation and income generating projects are some of the key benefits the youths are getting from such projects.

“These gardening projects are an effective source of income generation for youths, they are also boosting food security, and creating employment for our community youths,” Moyo said.

When reached for comment, a Mberengwa-based Youth Connect Zimbabwe officer refused to comment saying that only his superiors could comment.

“Unfortunately I’m not able to comment based on my opinion as our role and mandate as YouthConnekt is to assist and finance youth-related projects. Commentaries are only given by specific people at the country office”, he said.

Income generating projects have become one key community empowerment method as the government drives the community toward sustainable development as a key goal for agenda 2030

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