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Welcome to ProAfrica

Pro Africa was established in August 2000 with the aim to assist communities in Zimbabwe in prioritizing their needs in order to come up with proposals for economical viable projects and to source funding for the same.

Up till now, the operations of Pro Africa have been limited to the two Matabeleland provinces of Zimbabwe, where a broad experience base has been built up through the execution of projects and the consequent interaction that has taken place with a large section of society in the region, which includes local and international NGOs. Government agencies, farmers unions, churches and clubs at village level.
The main focus of Pro Africa’s work till now has been the implementation of gravity fed irrigation schemes, with the aim to enable the benefiting families to enjoy a more diverse diet and earn cash with the sale of excess produce.

Many efforts have been made since independence in 1980 to develop irrigation schemes in the drier parts of the country. While there are success stories in other parts of the country, the quest for irrigation in the communal areas of Matabeleland has been rather elusive. It is true that there are a few dozen irrigation schemes that are operational and that seem to be sustainable, but few of these schemes are not as productive as expected.
Yet logic dictates that the long term solution to food production in Matabeleland must include irrigated agriculture. One of the problems that continue to beset irrigation projects is that they appeal to everyone’s imagination .It is not sufficiently recognized that, although many rural farmers in Matabeleland show interest in irrigation development , there is no real irrigation tradition to speak of. Irrigation is a new phenomenon and as such it should be introduced with caution. Matabeleland is cattle country and farmers are first and foremost committed to rearing cattle. If there is a shortage of water, livestock gets priority over crops. In spite of the hype about irrigation, irrigated crops have to contend with second place after livestock.

It is sometimes assumed that water for irrigation can be found by drilling a borehole within a fenced area but the expected yield of that particular borehole might not be enough. Even in the unlikely event that it yields sufficient water to meet the demand, the question arises how to pump this water to the surface and how to apply it to the crops. A motorized pump can be the solution but the problems related to the running and maintenance costs make it not a sustainable solution for a small irrigation scheme. Hand pumps are sometimes an option but the lift is critical in the choice of a hand pump. The higher the lift the less amount of water that can be pumped manually.
Irrigation by gravity on the other hand is much more attractive in that it does not require pumping at all and therefore reduces the operational expenses. It is more sustainable in terms of maintenance. Gravity irrigation options are however limited and extensive site surveys are required to identify gravity irrigation options. The initial capital outlay for such a scheme is usually high and can be a deterrent, particularly if it includes the construction of a dam. However, in a situation where a dam already exists, the required capital input is sometimes very low.