Community livelihoods to be boosted by irrigation project
“We planted nothing because it did not rain. We could not use the cattle to plough because they have also had nothing to eat” said Agostinho Mabunda of the Nhatine Agricultural Associationin Guija district of Gaza province, some 250 km north of the capital city Maputo.
Mr. Mabunda is one of over a hundred members of the association, and he is hopeful that the UNDP-funded rehabilitation of an irrigation scheme will change the fortunes of this hard working yet vulnerable community.
Speaking on behalf of his association at the ceremony to officially open the newly-rehabilitated irrigation system in the community, Mr. Mabunda said: “today, we are very happy … the rehabilitated irrigation system will help us to improve and be more productive.”
Sandra Muquesuana, a farmer in the area, said that the community previously depended on the rains alone as traveling to gather water from the Limpopo River was not possible for all the machambas (crop lands). The irrigation system, she said, meant they would be able to plant many more kinds of crops and expect higher yields from the 43 hectares it will benefit.
The Guijá district, along with the districts of Chókwè, Chibuto and Xai-Xai also in Gaza, was very badly affected by floods in 2013 and much of the infrastructure in the region was damaged or destroyed. Today, UNDP is working with communities in these four districts to build back better. Supporting projects such as this flood-protected irrigation system is just one of many different interventions that UNDP is involved in.
The District Administrator of Guijá, Mr Zacarias Souto, also spoke at the ceremony and congratulated the “Nhatine” Association on their hard work to date. “We hope to reach more people, more associations, with these sustainable projects in the next years,” he said after the event and discussed how the district hoped others would be able to learn from the “Nhatine” Association.
The Association, he said, has been an active partner in the project and it is expected that this strong commitment and partnership will continue as the irrigation system begins to be regularly used.
“We are confident that we will be able to meet the challenges ahead,” said Mr Mabunda, “as long as we share these challenges with the government and UNDP… Today, we are very happy with the support we have received in this project.”