Prosperity through Irrigation
To develop and manage irrigation and drainage infrastructure for diversified, economically sound and sustainable irrigation and drainage systems under organized smallholder and estate management institutions and to maintain an effective advisory service.
In order to achieve its vision, the Department focuses on three priority areas as follows: Currently, the Department with support from the government and other development partners is implementing the following areas:
Sustainable Irrigation Development
To foster sustainable irrigation development, the department has embarked on Development of new irrigation schemes with the aim of increasing area under sustainable irrigation;
This entails construction of new irrigation infrastructure to put more land under irrigation. It is estimated that the country has over 600,000 hectares of irrigation potential but only about 103,000 hectares has been developed.
Sustainable Irrigation Management
The Department is rehabilitating existing irrigation schemes in order to sustain desired crop production levels. This is based on the need for proper management of developed areas for sustained productivity. However, beneficiaries are required to operate and maintain the infrastructure so that the designed capacities are maintained to support desired crop production levels.
In order to address the challenge of technical competence amongst irrigation stakeholders for sustainable irrigation development and management, the Department is implementing a project aimed at building the capacity of its staff and other stakeholders.
This is based on the background that development and management of irrigation requires adequate technical and administrative capacity. The technical competence within the public and private sectors including training institutions and beneficiary communities is critical for sustainable irrigation development and management
There are four irrigation technologies which are utilised by the smallholder farmers namely; Gravity-fed, Treadle Pumps, Motorised Pumps and Watering cans. The gravity-fed technology accounts for 56% of the total developed area under smallholder farmers. This technology is the most commonly used because of its cost-effectiveness as it does not need fuel as is the case with the motorized pump-based technology. In addition, the technology does not need much man power like the watering can and treadle pump-based technologies.