Bani irrigation: an alternative water use
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In Zimbabwe bani irrigation is a largely unacknowledged small-holder irrigation type. "Banis" (swamps) may be described as any flat, grass- covered depression at the head of streams within the tropics which lacks a definite channel (except perhaps in their lower parts), and which is essentially saturated (Boast, 1990). The bani irrigation systems typically constructed by communal farmers are composed of small fenced plots. The gardens are usually placed adjacent to one another, often sharing common fences (except in areas where the banis are, as yet, lightly exploited). Pumps are very infrequently used. Water is piped from springs, diverted in small channels from streams, or lifted with buckets from shallow hand-dug wells. Gardeners grow maize, rice, and a variety of horticultural crops, to market or for home consumption.