Breaking New Ground at Lapache Irrigation Scheme in Mwenezi

A new dawn has arisen at Lapache, an irrigation scheme established by Government in 2002 to support 86 smallholder farmers (37% female) in ward 16 of Mwenezi district. In the last two decades, Lapache has seen limited economic activities. However, this all changed in June 2022 when several firsts were recorded courtesy of the Seeds for Future (SEFF) project spearheaded by Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT) in partnership with COSPE (SEFF Consortium Lead) and with financial support from the Agency for Italian Cooperation and Support (AICS). The SEFF project has broken new ground in Mwenezi in that it is the first commercial farming operation under a Joint Venture (JV) arrangement for commercial paprika production over 15 hectares at Lapache in the last 22 years and it is also the first time that Lapache irrigation scheme has grown an export crop – paprika. The JV between Lapache and SAT, which was sealed in June 2022, has several advantages for Lapache irrigation scheme and its members who will benefit in several ways, not least the following: knowledge transfer from SAT on farming as a business and management of centre pivots, job opportunities for locals, a share of the paprika profits, and ownership of assets from the JV
partnership. About 45 tonnes of paprika valued at US$81,000 is expected at Lapache by April 2023, which will guarantee Lapache a dividend of US$7,300 in addition to 3,000 labour days valued at US$12,000 created along the paprika value chain for the benefit of Lapache members and locals from nearby communities. When the JV terminates, Lapache will retain ownership of the new centre pivot valued at US$56,000 that has been installed at the irrigation scheme with AICS support on the SEFF project.

By 17th November 2022, transplanting of paprika seedlings had commenced following the successful clearing of land at a new site and land preparation with a new tractor procured under the SEFF project. SAT Field Officers have played a sterling role to mobilise Lapache members, to establish the paprika nursery and to oversee bush clearing and land preparation. The paprika to be harvested at Lapache could be sold at the paprika processing centre that SAT is establishing at Rutenga under the SEFF project. Preparations for the establishment of the processing centre are at an advanced shed, with the shed up already!


SAT would like to extend its appreciation to AICS, COSPE, the Agricultural Advisory Services Directorate in Mwenezi and local authorities for their support on this novel initiative. The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services is also acknowledged for providing inmates to assist with bush clearing at a critical time in the project. The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe has commendably provided input finance and working capital worth US$50,000. For now, we all look forward to the harvest.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top